Shanghai (China).- The vice president of the European Commission and head of Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, will hold a high-level economic dialogue tomorrow with the Chinese vice prime minister He Lifeng that could be overshadowed by the European investigations into the Asian country’s subsidies to the electric ones.
The Latvian politician began a four-day official visit this Saturday at a time when Brussels also perceives greater difficulty for European companies to access the Chinese market and in a context of tension with Beijing due to the war in Ukraine.
This Monday’s meeting, held in the Chinese capital, will be the tenth high-level dialogue on economics and trade between the European Union (EU) and China, and will be structured around four main themes: macroeconomic issues, trade and investment, financial cooperation and industrial and supply chains.
According to the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, although expectations about the trip are not too high in Brussels, the advance party of the delegation conveyed to the Chinese team in charge of preparing the visit that something more than a mere “opportunity” was needed. to be in the photo.
This medium points out that Dombrovskis – who will also meet with the Minister of Finance and the governor of the central bank – will give speeches in which he will also try to address concerns about the EU’s risk reduction policy towards China, considered by officials of the Asian country as a euphemism for economic decoupling.
However, it is to be expected that what will really focus the attention of the Chinese side during the visit will be the recent announcement by the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, about the opening of an investigation into the public subsidies that Beijing grants to the electric ones.
“Global markets are flooded with cheaper Chinese electric vehicles and their price is kept artificially low thanks to huge state subsidies,” Von der Leyen explained during the State of the Union Address.
China protests: “Blatant protectionism”
According to the Commission, Chinese vehicles have a penetration of 8% in the community market – which could double to 15% in 2025 if the same rate continues – and due to subsidies, they cost 20% cheaper than European ones.
If the investigation concludes that the aforementioned aid is the cause of the loss of competitiveness of European automakers, Brussels could impose provisional tariffs on imports of Chinese electric vehicles, a prospect that caused many Chinese manufacturers to fall on the stock market. .
After the announcement, Dombrovskis himself assured: “We are open to competition but not to unfair practices.”
The Chinese reading of the situation, as expected, does not coincide: the Ministry of Commerce expressed its “great concern and strong discontent” about the initiative, which it described as an “excuse” to practice “blatant protectionism” that benefits the European industry.
«Many EU members subsidize their electric vehicle industries. “In what position is the European Commission to open an anti-subsidy investigation against China’s electric vehicles?” asked the director general for European Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Lutong, in a message published on the social network Twitter, censored in the Asian country).
Likewise, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the EU released a statement in which it expressed its “strong concern and opposition” to the investigations, considering that it is a “unilateral” and “obstructive” measure that goes against the commitments of the Twenty-Seven with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
This same month, figures from the Chinese automotive sector association showed that exports of electric vehicles produced in the Asian country to the rest of the world were more than double (+110%) in the first eight months of this year than in the same period. 2022, reaching around 727,000 vehicles until August. EFE