Published: 16:30, June 12, 2024 | Updated: 20:45, June 12, 2024
China urges EU to stand by its 'free trade'
By Zhao Jia and Wang Keju
Employees work on the assembly line of a new energy vehicle manufacturer in Chongqing. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

China on Wednesday urged the European Union to honor its commitment to supporting free trade and rejecting protectionism after the EU said it would apply additional duties of up to 25 percent on imported Chinese EVs from next month.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said at a daily news briefing that the anti-subsidy investigation is a typical act of protectionism.

Lin said the EU, using the investigation as a pretext,  has imposed tariffs on EVs imported from China, which violates the principles of market economy and international trade rules.

Such a move also damages China-EU economic and trade cooperation as well as the stability of the global automotive supply chain, ultimately harming Europe's own interests

Such a move also damages China-EU economic and trade cooperation as well as the stability of the global automotive supply chain, ultimately harming Europe's own interests.

READ MORE: Official: EU antisubsidy probe type of protectionism

Lin said recently political figures from various European countries and representatives from the industry have expressed opposition to the investigation, believing that imposing tariffs on Chinese EVs to protect the EU industry is a misguided approach.

Protectionism is not the way forward while openness and cooperation are the right path, Lin said.

He urged the EU to adhere to its commitment to supporting free trade and opposing protectionism, and work together with China to uphold the overall situation of China-EU economic and trade cooperation.

China will take all necessary measures to firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests, he added.

Also on Wednesday, the Ministry of Commerce said China expressed its grave concern and strong dissatisfaction following the European Commission's preliminary ruling to impose a temporary anti-subsidy tax on imported Chinese electric cars.

China has called on the European Union to immediately rectify its wrongful actions and seek dialogue and negotiation to effectively address the ongoing trade frictions between the two parties, said a spokesperson for the ministry.

The decision, which disregards both factual evidence and World Trade Organization rules, has been made despite China's repeated strong objections. It also ignores the appeals and warnings from several EU member states' governments and industry sectors, the spokesperson said.

The ruling fails to recognize that China's competitive advantage in the electric car industry is a result of fair and open competition, and is a violation of WTO rules and a failure to acknowledge the comprehensive cooperation of Chinese companies during the investigation, the spokesperson said.

The actions taken by the EC risk creating an unfavorable atmosphere for bilateral economic and trade cooperation between China and the EU. Such measures not only hinder the interests of European consumers but also jeopardize the EU's own goals of green transitioning and collaboration in addressing climate change on a global scale, the spokesperson said.