EU shocks China with electric vehicle duties of up to 38%

By Koen Verhelst, Antonia Zimmermann, Jürgen Klöckner | 06/12/2024 11:00 AM EDT

Beijing has threatened to retaliate against European aviation, farmers and spirits makers if Brussels targets its EV makers with punitive tariffs.

Cars wait to be loaded onto a ship for export in Yantai, China.

Cars wait to be loaded onto a ship for export at the port in Yantai in China's eastern Shandong province on Jan. 2. STR/AFP via Getty Images

BRUSSELS — The European Commission shocked China on Wednesday by announcing it would impose duties of up to 38.1 percent on electric vehicle imports from July 4 — a level that was much higher than expected.

The imposition of provisional duties, which comes after a monthslong investigation into Chinese state aid to its EV makers, raises the immediate prospect of a full-scale trade war after Beijing launched an investigation into European spirits makers and threatened retaliation against farmers and plane makers.

“When our partners breach the rules, we will assert our rights,” EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis said in a written statement shared with reporters.


In a first response, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce to the EU expressed its “shock, grave disappointment and deep dissatisfaction with this protectionist measure by the [European Commission].”