Does the EU have what it takes to fight China on green tech?

By Koen Verhelst, Varg Folkman | 04/16/2024 06:35 AM EDT

If you aren’t sure what the difference is between an anti-subsidy probe and an investigation into foreign subsidies, we’ve got you covered.

BYD electric cars waiting to be loaded on a ship are stacked at the international container terminal of Taicang Port at Suzhou Port.

“The EV probe” — as people in Brussels call it for short — breaks new ground in several ways. AFP via Getty Images

The EU is getting increasingly trigger happy as it launches probe after probe into whether China is unfairly supporting its exporters and, in so doing, potentially killing off competitors based in the bloc’s single market — in sectors ranging from electric vehicles to wind turbines.

The investigations into suspected subsidies and dumping may sound similar. But they differ in important respects — and understanding how they work is key to figuring out whether they will hit the mark.

Although the EU doesn’t explicitly target any country in developing these trade weapons, in practice they often aim at Beijing. Overcapacity is the buzzword, with weak domestic demand meaning China exports a huge volume of solar panels, metals and — critically — EVs.


The EU is making increasing use of its newest competition bazooka, the Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR). It also has anti-subsidy and anti-dumping weapons in its trade armory. If you’re wondering how they work, and how they differ, we’ve got you covered.