EU imports of Chinese cars have quadrupled in the last five years.

Europe probes China’s electric car subsidies as imports soar

By James Frater and Mark Thompson, CNN|

The European Union is launching an investigation into China’s state support for electric carmakers as soaring imports stoke fears for the future of European car manufacturers.

Speaking to the European Parliament on Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Europe was open to competition but “not for a race to the bottom.”

“Global markets are now flooded with cheaper electric cars and their prices [are] kept artificially low by huge state subsidies,” von der Leyen said. “So I can announce today that the Commission is launching an anti-subsidy investigation into electric vehicles coming from China.”

Europe levies a duty of 10% on cars imported from China. That compares with duty of 27.5% in the United States, and China’s manufacturers have taken advantage to carve out a significant and rapidly growing foothold in the European market.

Chinese companies exported nearly 350,000 electric vehicles to nine European countries in the first half of the year, more than they exported in all of 2022, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association. And in the last five years, European Union imports of Chinese cars have quadrupled.

By 2030, Chinese carmakers could see their share of the global market double from 17% to 33%, with European firms suffering the biggest loss of market share, according to a recent estimate by UBS.

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