China has sufficient tools to deal with EU’s incessant anti-subsidy probes: social media influencer

Workers complete assembling an electric vehicle (EV) at China's EV start-up Leapmotor in Jinhua, East China's Zhejiang Province on April 1, 2024. The smart EV factory delivered 14,567 new vehicles in March, a yearly increase of 136 percent. Photo: VCG

Workers complete assembling an electric vehicle (EV) at China’s EV start-up Leapmotor in Jinhua, East China’s Zhejiang Province on April 1, 2024. The smart EV factory delivered 14,567 new vehicles in March, a yearly increase of 136 percent. Photo: VCG

Facing incessant anti-subsidy probes against Chinese companies, China actually has sufficient countermeasures, and, if Europe stubbornly continues to take action, China may have to take a series of measures to hit back, Yuyuan Tantian, a social media influencer affiliated with state broadcaster CCTV said in a penned article on Saturday.

The remarks came after two Chinese companies were forced to withdraw from a public procurement bid in a Romanian photovoltaic park project due to the EU’s anti-subsidy investigations. The complexity of the evidence collection required, and the insufficient time provided by the EU led to their withdrawal.

This has been the third investigation under EU’s Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR) since its launch last July, all targeting Chinese companies. It comes as certain politicians within the bloc raised so-called concerns regarding “overcapacity” in Chinese emerging industry including electric vehicles (EV).

The EU’s actions and hypes do not align with the interests of EU members, Yuyuan Tantian wrote. 

Some European countries, such as Germany, have expressed opposition to high tariffs on Chinese EVs, stating that EVs from China would drive the innovation of German automobile industry.

Moreover, the EU itself has been providing substantial subsidies in various sectors, including new-energy industries and the agricultural sector.

In response to EU politicians’ efforts to suppress Chinese companies, China has prepared sufficient countermeasures, Yuyuan Tantian wrote in the article.

Shen Qian, a lawyer familiar with trade and commerce issues, told Tanyuan Tantian said that the EU is highly dependent on the Chinese market for exports including wine and dairy, and the EU offered huge subsidy to its agriculture industry. 

Shen said that the EU’s subsidy as well as dumping practices has caused substantial harm to related industries in China, so it is necessary for China to demonstrate its determination to protect the interests of Chinese companies too.

Last September, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced an anti-subsidy ruling on imported potato starch from the EU and decided to keep in place the anti-subsidy tariffs. 

In addition to agricultural products, the EU also relies on the Chinese market in many other sectors such as aviation. Airbus recently released a report predicting that China is expected to surpass the US and Europe to become the world’s largest aviation market.

“Some EU politicians’ attempts to suppress China are undoubtedly shooting themselves in the foot,” Yuyuan Tantian wrote.

CRRC’s withdrawal from Bulgaria bid shows rising EU protectionism: CCCEU

This aerial photo taken on Jan. 4, 2023 shows bullets trains at a garage of CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd. in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province. As a major manufacturer of high-speed trains in China, CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd. overhauled the trains that will serve the upcoming Spring Festival travel rush to ensure their smooth operation.(Photo: Xinhua)

This aerial photo taken on Jan. 4, 2023 shows bullets trains at a garage of CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd. in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese train maker CRRC’s withdrawal from a Bulgarian train tender adds to the evidence suggesting the EU side has wielded the Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR) as a new tool to deter foreign companies, coercing them into withdrawal and subsequent business exclusion, the China Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (CCCEU) said on Tuesday.

Following CRRC’s withdrawal, the European Union (EU) announced on Tuesday that it would close its subsidies probe into CRRC Qingdao Sifang Locomotive, a subsidiary of CRRC Corp, the world’s biggest producer of rolling stock.

The CCCEU expressed deep concern about non-market-based exclusion of Chinese companies and strongly urged the EU to uphold principles of fairness and transparency, and to ensure an equitable business environment for Chinese enterprises in the EU market.

CRRC has withdrawn from a €610 million ($660 million) public train tender in Bulgaria after the EU launched a probe into foreign subsidies, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

In recent years, the EU has stepped up trade protectionism against China. In February, the EU’s antitrust regulator launched an investigation into CRRC, alleging that it had not declared state subsidies it received that enabled its bid to hugely undercut a rival bid from Talgo, a privately owned Spanish rail company, which was the only other bidder.

The move marks the EU’s first in-depth investigation under the Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR) since the FSR was released in July last year. The FSR is one of a series of measures passed by the EU in recent years to bolster the bloc’s economic security, with China seen as a key focus.

CRRC is the world’s largest train manufacturer, and CRRC Qingdao Sifang is its core subsidiary, specializing in high-speed train development and urban rail vehicle manufacturing. It is also a key exporter of national rail equipment.

The subsidiary offered its bid in the Bulgarian tender last December at about half the price of Spain’s Talgo, making it highly competitive. The European Commission attributed CRRC’s lower bid to subsidies from the Chinese government.

Amid the growing protectionist climate, the EU has been adding to its commercial weaponry. The highest-profile case has been the ongoing probe into China’s electric vehicle exports, which is expected to result in duties starting in July, according to the South China Morning Post.

China’s Ministry of Commerce in February urged the EU to adhere to WTO rules, respect the principles of the market economy, and use the foreign subsidies regulation prudently, in response to its probe into CRRC.

Global Times