By Kate Yuan
(JW Insights) Sep 26 -- German Transport Minister Volker Wissing has spoken out against possible punitive tariffs that could be imposed by the European Union (EU) on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), he told Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper on September 25.
"In principle, I don't think much of erecting market barriers. Today, cars are being sealed off, tomorrow it's chemical products, and each individual step in itself makes the world poorer," he said.
"We have to make sure we produce our electric vehicles competitively - for Germany and for world markets," Wissing said. A trade war, on the other hand, could quickly spread to other sectors and cause massive economic damage, the German politician warned.
For the German car industry, for which China is the largest customer, the measures would be a threat, according to experts. "There is a very great risk ... We need cooperation with China, not a trade war," said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the CAR Center Automotive Research Duisburg, said a Xinhua report.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this month announced a probe into whether to impose punitive tariffs to protect EU automakers against China's EV imports, which the commissions says are benefiting from excessive state subsidies.
China’s Ministry of Commerce expressed strong concerns and dissatisfaction on this, considering the investigative measures a blatant act of protectionism under the guise of "fair competition." These measures are expected to significantly disrupt and distort the global automotive industry supply chain, including that of the European Union, and will have a negative impact on the China-EU economic and trade relations.