EREN GOLDMAN-UNSPLASH

– Beijing wants the European Union to scrap its preliminary tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles by July 4, China’s state-controlled Global Times reported, after an agreement by both sides to hold new trade talks.

Provisional EU duties of up to 38.1% on imported Chinese-made EVs are set to kick in by July 4 while the bloc investigates what the EU claims are excessive and unfair subsidies to Chinese EV makers.

China has repeatedly called on the EU to cancel its tariffs, expressing a willingness to negotiate. Beijing does not want to be embroiled in another tariff war, still stung by US tariffs on its goods imposed by the Trump administration, but says it would take all steps to protect Chinese firms should one happen.

Both sides agreed to start tariff talks after a call between EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao on Saturday during a visit to China by Germany’s economy minister, who said the doors for discussion are “open”.

The best outcome of the talks is that the EU scraps its tariff decision before July 4, Global Times reported late on Sunday, citing observers.

The EU’s increasingly protectionist moves will trigger countermeasures from China, and an escalation in trade frictions would only lead to “lose-lose” results for both sides, the newspaper said.

The tariffs are set to be finalized on Nov. 2 at the end of the EU anti-subsidy investigation.

China has rejected the accusations of unfair subsidies, saying the development of China’s EV industry has been the result of advantages in technology, market and industry supply chains. – Reuters