Chinese EV makers risk tougher duties over failure to work with EU probe

By Koen Verhelst | 05/06/2024 06:15 AM EDT

The European Commission warns BYD, SAIC and Geely that their lack of cooperation frees its hands to impose higher penalties, letters seen by POLITICO show.

BYD electric cars waiting to be loaded onto a ship are seen stacked at the international container terminal of Taicang Port in Suzhou, in China's eastern Jiangsu province on February 8, 2024. (Photo by AFP) / China Out (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Three companies are under investigation for allegedly receiving distorting subsidies to produce electric vehicles. AFP via Getty Images

The European Commission has told the three Chinese electric carmakers it’s investigating over state subsidies that they haven’t provided enough information, according to letters seen by POLITICO, a warning that could pave the way for tougher European Union fines.

The letters, addressed to EV makers BYD, SAIC and Geely and all dated April 23, reach the same conclusion: that the trio did not provide enough information on subsidies, operations and supply chains.

Working without these inputs, the Commission says, means it will need to revert to the concept of “facts available.” This usually means, in practice, that it has a free hand to slap higher duties on the imported products.


The correspondence indicates that the trade investigation, launched by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last year, could be heading toward a harsh outcome as Brussels steps up action to keep increasingly dominant Chinese makers of green tech — from EVs to solar panels, to wind turbines — at bay.