Li_DanLi_Dan ・ Jul. 10, 2024
China Dismisses EU Ambassador's Accusation of Late Response to Request for EV Talks
China has shown the utmost sincerity over consultations about the EU's anti-subsidy probe into Chinese EVs, and Beijing is bound to take all measures to safeguard its rights and interests against any egregious practices that abuse the rules and suppress China, said the spokesperson at China's Commerce Ministry.

 TMTPost -- China dismisses a European Union diplomat’s accusation of late response to the bloc’s request for talks to avert higher tariffs on Chinese-made electric vehicles.

Credit:Xinhua News Agency

Credit:Xinhua News Agency

China was aware of recent comments from Jorge Toledo, the EU’s ambassador to China, which are “seriously inconsistent with the facts”, a spokesperson at the Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM) said, according to a statement of the ministry released Monday. Since the EU launched an anti-subsidy investigation on Chinese EVs last October, China has been expressing strong opposition at multiple bilateral occasions, and has always advocated maintaining the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, urging the EU to properly handle economic and trade frictions through dialogue and consultation, the spokesperson said.

According to the spokesperson, Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao sent a letter to the European Commission Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis on October 24, 2023 to express the willingness to properly address the case through dialogue and consultation right after the EU launched an investigation that could result in additional tariffs.  Less than a month later, Wang wrote to the European side again on November 23, proposing to discuss suggestions about the probe, and sent another letter to the European side on May 19, 2024, reiterating the willingness to ease the EU’s concern through dialogue. In addition, since the EU’s opening of the probe, the Chinese technical staff has sent intense signals to the European side through various channels such as on-site inspections and hearings that it is willing to properly handle economic and trade frictions through dialogue and consultation.

The spokesperson said the minister Wang Wentao and Dombrovskis met virtually on June 22 at his request, and they agreed to hold consultations on the EU's anti-subsidy investigation int Chinese EVs. A day after the meeting, China sent a working group to the EU for talks on June 23, and the two sides also held multiple rounds of technical consultations simultaneously in the form of video conference. China has shown the utmost sincerity over consultations and hope the EU work with the Chinese side to meet each other halfway, show sincerity, speed up the consultation process, and reach a mutually acceptable solution as soon as possible, the spokesperson stated.

China firmly opposes any unilateralism and protectionism that politicizes and weaponizes economic and trade issues, the spokesperson stressed. Then the person cautioned Beijing is bound to take all measures to safeguard its rights and interests against any egregious practices that abuse the rules and suppress China.

The spokesperson made remarks in wake of two EU diplomats’ blaming China for late resopnse. The EU has offered consultations to the Chinese government on this case for months, but “it was only nine days ago” that Dombrovskis received a call from China’s Commerce Minister Wang to start consultations, a Bloomberg report cited Toledo at a conference in Beijing Sunday. “We sent a letter four months ago saying we want to talk about this and other things,” Toledo said.

The call from Minister Wang only came after German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck pushed him to do so in his visit to China last month, Bruno Angelet, the Belgian Ambassador in Beijing, said at the same conference, according to the report. It added that Angelet and Toledo noted that Beijing publicly criticized European actions while it remained silent or had muted reaction to other nations’ similar moves.

The European Commission announced last Thursday it imposed provisional countervailing duties of up to 37.6% from Friday, on top of the ordinary BEV import duty of 10%, on imports of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) from China. The executive arm of the EU concluded through an anti-subsidy investigation that the BEV value chain in China benefits from unfair subsidization, which is causing a threat of economic injury to EU BEV producers.

China has repeatedly expressed strong opposition to the EU's anti-subsidy investigation on China's EVs, and advocated properly handling economic and trade frictions through dialogue and consultation, said He Yadong, spokesperson for China’s Commerce Ministry.  “There is still a four-month window before the (EU’s) final ruling. We hope that the European side will work with China to meet each other halfway, show sincerity, speed up the consultation process, and, on the basis of rules and reality, reach a mutually acceptable solution as soon as possible,” He told reports at regular press last Thursday.

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