China to help electric vehicle industry respond to foreign trade restrictions

Rows of new energy vehicles are parked at Changan Automobile’s vehicle distribution center in Chongqing, China, on Jan. 14, 2024. Reports indicate that in 2023, China’s automobile production and sales volumes reached 30.161 million and 30.94 million, respectively, marking an increase of 11.6% and 12%, and securing the country’s position as the world’s top automobile producer and seller for the 15th consecutive year.

Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

China’s commerce ministry said on Wednesday it would encourage the new energy vehicle industry to “actively” respond to foreign trade restrictions and cooperate with overseas firms, amid a European probe into Chinese subsidies for the sector.

The ministry issued guidelines that also encouraged automakers to set up R&D and after-sales service centers abroad, to collaborate with foreign partners in building up supply chains, and to work more closely with shipping companies on transportation logistics.

Under the measures, Chinese banks would be encouraged to expand domestic and overseas services for automakers and their supply chains, including the scale of cross-border RMB settlements.

The ministry also said it would optimize export procedures for NEVs and batteries.

EU probe into Chinese EV subsidies: Former EU trade chief discusses 'safeguard procedure'

China is estimated to have overtaken Japan as the world’s largest auto exporter in 2023, and its growing clout as a vehicle exporter is causing frictions abroad.

In September, the European Commission launched a probe into Chinese-made electric vehicles over subsidies they may have received, a move branded by Beijing as “protectionist.”

The United States is discussing raising tariffs on some Chinese goods including EVs, the Wall Street Journal reported last month.

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