Volkswagen condemned EU charges on electric cars from China

German car giant Volkswagen has criticized the European Union's move to impose temporary additional duties of up to 38% on imports of Chinese electric cars over concerns about subsidies, AFP reports.
"The timing of the European Commission's decision is disastrous for the European electric car market," the German group said.
"Countervailing duties are not in principle suitable for strengthening the competitiveness of the European automotive industry in the long term - we reject them," the group added.
Last month, Brussels announced the planned increase in tariffs following the conclusion of an investigation into Chinese state subsidies to electric car makers that could undercut European manufacturers.
But auto groups in Germany have reacted negatively to the EU's action against China, where many have significant business interests.
"The timing of the EU Commission's decision is disastrous for the European electric car market, where demand is weak," Volkswagen said. Europe's largest carmaker said that "the negative consequences of this decision outweigh any potential benefits for the European and especially the German car industry". 
BMW chief Oliver Zipse said "the tariff battle between the EU and China is leading to a deadlock".
"It does not strengthen the competitiveness of European manufacturers, on the contrary. It damages the business model of globally active companies," Zipse added.
The move to increase the price of Chinese imports also "restricts the supply of electric vehicles to European customers and may therefore even slow down decarbonisation in the transport sector," Zipse added.
The provisional duties on Chinese manufacturers include a 17.4 percent tax on the market's largest BYD, which recently turned its attention to the European market, as well as a 19.9 percent hike for Geely and 37.6 percent for SAIC.
The increase will start to apply from 5 July, and the final duties will take effect in November for a five-year period, pending a vote by the 27 EU member states.
The German automotive industry association VDA said there was a "real risk of escalation of the trade conflict with China" if the EU went ahead with the tariff hike.
"Chinese countermeasures could seriously affect the European economy", especially sectors with large exports to China, the VDA added. 
The industry association called on the EU to cancel the tariff increase and find a solution through negotiations with Beijing. | BGNES