A PYMNTS Company

Germany’s Economy Minister: EU Tariffs on Chinese Goods Are Not Punitive

 |  June 23, 2024

During a visit to Beijing, Germany’s Economy Minister, Robert Habeck, clarified to Chinese officials that the European Union’s proposed tariffs on Chinese goods are not punitive. This visit is significant as it marks the first by a senior European official since the EU suggested substantial duties on Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs) to address what it sees as disproportionate subsidies.

China had warned before Habeck’s arrival that growing tensions with the EU over EVs could potentially lead to a trade war. In response, Habeck sought to explain the EU’s perspective during a climate and transformation dialogue session, emphasizing the difference between punitive tariffs and the EU’s measures.

“It is important to understand that these are not punitive tariffs,” Habeck stated in the dialogue’s first plenary session. He pointed out that while other countries like the U.S., Brazil, and Turkey have used punitive tariffs, the EU approaches such issues differently. “Europe does things differently,” he said.

Habeck detailed that the European Commission had meticulously reviewed over nine months whether Chinese companies had benefited unfairly from subsidies. Any countervailing duty from the EU review is designed to balance these benefits rather than act as a punishment. “Common, equal standards for market access should be achieved,” he emphasized.

In discussions with Zheng Shanjie, chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Habeck reaffirmed that the proposed EU tariffs are intended to ensure fair competition and level the playing field between European and Chinese companies.

Source: Reuters