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The US will quadruple the tariff on Chinese electric cars

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A Chinese worker at a car factory owned by Li Auto in Changzhou in east China’s Jiangsu Province. Li Auto is one of China’s major electric car manufacturers. Archive photo: Chinatopix / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 14.05.2024 13:39:39

Policy: Tariffs are to be increased gradually over a three-year period, but already this year they will be adjusted upwards on, among other things, electric cars, solar panels, sprayers, steel and aluminium.

The customs duty on Chinese electric cars will be raised to a whopping 100 per cent during the year – a fourfold increase compared to the current level. The tariff on computer chips will be increased from 25 to 50 percent by next year, according to Tuesday’s announcement from the White House.

The imports affected have a value of a whopping 18 billion dollars.

The US currently does not import many Chinese electric cars, but the US authorities fear that they will soon come out in full force and compete with more expensive American models.

US authorities justify the tariffs on the grounds that China has “unfair trade practices in terms of technology transfer, intellectual property rights and innovation”.

It was Trump who initiated what is often referred to as a trade war between the US and China. The goal of both Trump and Biden is to protect American jobs and products from cheaper Chinese imports.

China accuses the US of protectionism and denies that the products are subsidized by the Chinese authorities. Instead, they argue that China contributes to a faster green transition.

In an analysis, the Reuters news agency writes that the customs duty will be able to provide temporary protection for jobs in the American car industry, but that this may come at the expense of the government’s climate action.

– China is simply too big to be able to follow its own rules, says the head of the US National Economic Council, Lael Brainard.

He believes there is a danger that China will eventually dominate the market for new technology, and that this will threaten economic stability.

Several hours before the customs decision was announced, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that China will do everything to protect its own interests.

– China is always against unilateral tariff increases that violate the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and we will take all necessary measures to secure our legitimate rights and interests, said Wang Wenbin.

The decision is made as President Joe Biden prepares to run an election campaign against former President Donald Trump, whom he hopes to beat in the autumn presidential election.

In the US, however, China’s strong growth in products requiring new technology is considered a security threat.

US officials do not believe the tariffs will worsen relations between the US and China, but they expect China will try to find ways to counter the US measures.

(© NTB)

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