Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

EU tariffs on China are not “punishment”, Germany's economy minister said

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jun23,2024

EU tariffs against China are not a "punishment", German Economy Minister said

The tariffs proposed by the European Union on Chinese goods are not a "punishment", German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told Chinese officials in Beijing on Saturday.

Habek's visit to China — the first visit by a senior European official since Brussels proposed high tariffs on Chinese-made electric vehicle (EV) imports to combat what the EU sees as excessive subsidies.

On Friday, on the eve of his arrival, China warned that the escalation of disputes with the EU over electric cars could lead to a trade war.

"It is important to understand that these are not punitive tariffs", — said Habek at the first plenary meeting as part of the dialogue on climate and transformation.

Countries such as the USA, Brazil and Turkey used punitive tariffs, but not the EU, the economy minister said. "Europe does it differently".

Habek noted that for nine months, the European Commission has been studying in detail whether Chinese companies have benefited unfairly from subsidies. "is not a punishment," he said, adding that such measures are designed to compensate for the advantages given by Beijing to Chinese companies.

"It is necessary to achieve common, equal standards of market access", — said Habek.

At a meeting with Zheng Shanjie, head of China's National Development and Reform Commission, Gabek said that the tariffs proposed by the EU are designed to equalize China's chances.

Zheng replied: "We will do everything to protect Chinese companies" .

Zheng added that the EU's proposed tariffs on the import of Chinese-made electric vehicles will harm both sides. He told Habek that he hoped Germany would show leadership in the EU and “do the right thing”.

He also rejected accusations of unfair subsidies, saying that the development of China's new energy industry was the result of comprehensive advantages in technology, market and industry chains that were created under conditions of fierce competition.

The growth of the industry “is the result of competition” , not subsidies, not to mention unfair competition», — Zheng said during the meeting.

The EU's provisional tariffs will take effect on July 4, and the investigation will last until November 2, when final tariffs, usually for a period of five years, could be imposed.

Habek told Chinese officials that the findings of the EU report should be discussed .

«Now it is important to take seriously the opportunity presented by the report and to negotiate», — Gabek said.

After meeting with Zheng, Gabek spoke with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, who said he would discuss the tariffs with EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis on Saturday night via video conference.

Dialogue on climate

Although trade tensions were one of the key topics for discussion, the purpose of the meeting was to deepen cooperation between the two industrialized countries in the field of "green" transition.

This was the first plenary meeting in the framework of the dialogue on climate and transformation after Germany and China signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of climate change and "green" transition.

Countries have recognized that they have a special responsibility to prevent global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

China has installed nearly 350 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy in 2023, more than half of the global total, and if the world's second-largest economy keeps up its pace, it is likely to exceed its 2030 target as early as this year, it said. published in June by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

While Habek praised the expansion of renewable energy in China, he noted that it is important to look not only at the expansion of renewable energy, but also at overall CO2 emissions.


In 2023, coal will still account for almost 60% of China's electricity supply. "China has a coal energy balance", — said Zheng.

China, India and Indonesia account for nearly 75% of all coal burned globally, as governments tend to prioritize energy security, affordability and cost over carbon emissions.< /p>

Zheng said that China is building coal-fired power plants as a safety measure.

«I still believe that the massive expansion of coal-fired power can be done differently if we consider the impact of renewable energy sources in the system», — replied Gabek.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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