Beijing has attacked the EU’s anti-subsidies investigation into China’s electric car industry as a “naked protectionist act” and warned that it will have a negative impact on relations in its first official comments on the probe.
China’s commerce ministry vowed to protect the “legitimate rights” of its companies and reminded the EU of the strong presence and long history of European producers in the world’s second-largest economy.
“It is a naked protectionist act that will seriously disrupt and distort the global automotive industry supply chain, including in the EU, and it will have a negative impact on China-EU economic and trade relations,” the ministry said in a statement.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced the investigation on Wednesday, kicking off what might be one of the most serious battles with Beijing in the bloc’s efforts to “de-risk” from China.
Chinese electric vehicles still represent only a small share of the bloc’s market, but they are rising fast and could hit 15 per cent within two years. Their ascent has worried the EU, which had its solar panel market dominated by Chinese producers more than a decade ago.