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EU tariffs on Chinese EVs harm interests of both sides: commentary

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EU tariffs on Chinese EVs harm interests of both sides: commentary

2024-06-14 08:50 Last Updated At:09:07

The European Commission's plan to impose provisional extra duties of up to 38.1 percent on electric vehicles (EVs) manufactured in China harms the interests of both sides, said a commentary published by China Media Group (CMG) on Thursday.

An edited English-language version of the commentary is as follows:

What Europe really needs is to promote the automotive industry's transformation towards electrification and climate neutrality, not protectionism.

Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and other European automakers immediately expressed their opposition to the plan, saying that the tariffs will hinder the development of European car companies and harm Europe's own interests. The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China has also issued a statement, voicing concerns that EU trade protectionism may lead to an escalation of Sino-EU trade frictions and impact economic and trade relations between the two sides.

Despite being the "protected" parties in the EU decision, European car companies have collectively voiced their opposition, which clearly shows that the EU's decision is not at all for the benefit of European car companies, but political manipulation. This practice violates the principles of market economy and international trade rules, seriously damages the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and European automobile producers and supply chain companies, harming both sides.

In fact, since the European Commission decided to launch its anti-subsidy investigation on Chinese EVs last October, huge differences have emerged within the continent. Germany, Hungary and other countries have clearly opposed the investigation, saying that it could well backfire.

The EU's initial ruling lacks factual and legal basis. The "impact" brought by Chinese EVs to Europe is by no means as serious as some people have exaggerated. Data from the U.S.-based Rhodium Group shows that Chinese EVs had an eight percent share of the European EV market last year, while European EVs accounted for six percent of the Chinese market in 2022. Given the relatively small difference, it is questionable why the EU is insisting on using tariffs to suppress Chinese EVs, especially in the face of opposition from within the continent.

Behind this, there is not only a complex game of interests within Europe, but also three types of mindset in Europe.

First, the mindset of suppressing China's development. Despite mainstream voices in Europe advocating for cooperation with China, there is also an anti-China voice that does not want to see China's development. It deliberately exaggerates the ideological and political differences between China and Europe, claims that China has "taken advantage" of Sino-EU cooperation, and tries to obstruct the two sides from deepening political mutual trust and expanding practical cooperation.

The anti-China rhetoric seems to have got stronger amidst the rise of conservative and populist sentiments in Europe. From obstructing Chinese investment in Europe to suppressing Chinese EVs with tariffs, "striking at anything Chinese" has become politically correct for some Europeans.

Second, the fear of fair competition. Europe has long held a prominent advantage in manufacturing traditional fuel vehicles. However, with the rapid development of China's new energy vehicle (NEV) sector, some Europeans are concerned that China will overtake them. Some European media have even openly stated that they should squeeze out Chinese cars in order to buy more time for European automakers to catch up. Is this really the case?

Superficially, European automakers seem to benefit in the short term from suppressing Chinese competitors. But in the long term, employing unfair means to restrict competitors will not only increase the costs for European consumers, but also hinder European automakers' market competitiveness, which will cause greater harm to Europe itself.

According to Anthony Sassine, a senior investment analyst from the U.S.-based asset management company KraneShares, Chinese automakers are highly efficient and maintaining a leading position. Therefore, they will not be significantly impacted by the EU tariffs and will remain more competitive than their European competitors.

Third, the mindset of closely following the United States. Europe was once a victim of U.S. trade protectionism, but now it has assumed the role of the protagonist in trade frictions. One important reason behind this shift is pressure from the U.S.

The U.S. has recently hyped up the narrative of "overcapacity" regarding Chinese EVs while significantly raising tariffs on them to 100 percent.

During her visit to Europe last month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called on the U.S. and Europe to jointly address the so-called "overcapacity" in China's EV and other industries. Some analysts suggest that the EU's tariff on China, coming on the heels of the U.S. move, is intended to cater to Washington. However, the EU should think carefully -- is it worth sacrificing China-EU cooperation to cater to the U.S. wish to suppress China?

In fact, China and Europe share broad common interests in the NEV industry. In recent years, European automakers such as BMW and Volkswagen have expanded their NEV operations in China, and Chinese companies such as Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL), BYD, and Great Wall Motor (GWM) have made investments and plans to build factories in Europe.

Through healthy competition and cooperation, Chinese and European EV industries have formed a closely intertwined pattern, which is conducive to enhancing the competitiveness of the European industry and is in line with Europe's vision of pursuing energy transformation and carbon reduction.

Historical experience has repeatedly proved that tariffs do not foster competitiveness and trade wars ultimately benefit no one. China's lead in the EV industry has been earned through competition, not industrial subsidies.

The EU should listen carefully to voices calling for reason, immediately correct its mistakes, stop politicizing economic and trade issues, and properly handle frictions through dialogue and consultation.

Should the EU insist on imposing the tariffs, China will take resolute measures to uphold WTO rules and market principles, and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.

EU tariffs on Chinese EVs harm interests of both sides: commentary

EU tariffs on Chinese EVs harm interests of both sides: commentary

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China makes marked progresses in people-centered reform

2024-07-15 23:18 Last Updated At:07-16 01:27

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee has led the nation to make marked progresses in comprehensively deepening reforms while adhering to the people-centered approach.

In 2012, China began to advance towards building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Faced with the people's new expectations for a better life, Xi Jinping, who had just been elected General Secretary of the CPC, made a solemn promise to the people.

"Our people have an ardent love for life. They wish to have better education, more stable jobs, more income, greater social security, better medical and health care, improved housing conditions and a better environment. They want their children to have sound growth, have good jobs and lead a more enjoyable life. To meet their desire for a happy life is our mission," Xi said while leading the Party's new central leadership to meet the press in 2012.

The Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee proposed 60 specific tasks and 336 reform measures for comprehensively deepening reform.

For years, Xi has persevered in going deep into the grassroots to observe people's livelihood, learn about people's true living standards, and personally ask what worries and troubles they have in their life and what expectations they have for the future.

"In China's modernization, people's livelihood is the most important thing. What the Communist Party of China wants to do is to make the people live a happier life," Xi said during his inspection tour in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality in April 2024.

The Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has adhered to promoting reform with the people at the center, and taken improving people's well-being and promoting the all-round development of people as the starting point of reform and development. It has planned and promoted reform based on the overall, fundamental and long-term interests of the people.

"Comprehensively deepening reform is faced with tough tasks. The arduous situation and tasks, the complex contradictions and problems, and the stern risks and challenges are all unprecedented. Reforms should focus on what the people care about and expect. As long as it is conducive to increasing the people's sense of gain, happiness, and security, we will resolutely make breakthroughs and reform, and persistently work hard and do things well in the spirit of 'leaving a mark in the iron tools we clutch and footprints on the stones we tread,'" said Wang Yuqiang, a researcher at the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee.

Faced with the unprecedented battle to get rid of absolute poverty in human history, a series of reform measures have constituted a complete poverty alleviation system with Chinese characteristics. The CPC Central Committee has established a responsibility system and improved the assessment and evaluation system around the basic strategy of targeted poverty alleviation.

On Nov 23, 2020, Guizhou Province announced that Ziyun and eight other counties had been removed from the list of poverty-stricken counties. From then on, all 98.99 million rural poor people in 832 poverty-stricken counties across China had been lifted out of poverty.

Today, the national poverty population registration information system has been upgraded to an information system for preventing poverty relapse, monitoring and promoting rural revitalization, and relevant reforms continue to gain momentum.

"The central government has identified 160 key counties for national rural revitalization, most of which were formerly national-level poverty-stricken counties. It has refined and consolidated preferential support policies in 14 areas, continued to increase support, and tightened work responsibilities at all levels to effectively enhance and expand the results of poverty alleviation and promote comprehensive rural revitalization," said Liu Junyong, deputy head of the Assistance Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, many institutional and mechanism drawbacks that hinder the social mobility of labor and talents have been eliminated, and the employment priority strategy and active employment policies have been continuously improved. Basic pension insurance now covers 1.07 billion people, and the coverage of basic medical insurance has stabilized at above 95 percent. High-quality medical resources are expanding to the central and western regions. More than 64 million sets of various types of affordable housing and housing for shantytown reconstruction resettlement have been built. The education at all levels has been up to or higher than the average level of middle- and high-income countries. A large number of old communities have been renovated, and people's life in communities is becoming more colorful.

"If I'm not feeling well, there's the community hospital. If I'm hungry, there's the canteen. I just want to live here. I'm very happy," said Chen Dairong, a resident of Minzhu Village Community in Chongqing.

China makes marked progresses in people-centered reform

China makes marked progresses in people-centered reform

China makes marked progresses in people-centered reform

China makes marked progresses in people-centered reform

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