UK urged not to follow EU on Chinese tariffs

The UK has been urged not to follow in the footsteps of the EU after the European Commission said it had ‘provisionally concluded’ to impose tariffs on electric cars imported from China.

The EU has said unless a solution is found to the threat of Chinese-made EVs flooding the European market, the new tariffs will apply from 4 July and remain in place until 2 November while an anti-subsidy investigation is underway. The duties could then be imposed for an initial period of five years.

On top of the existing 10% tariffs imposed on Chinese EV imports, the EU plans to impose further tariffs of 17.4% on BYD models, 20% on Geely cars, and 38.1% on EVs produced by SAIC.


However, Ian Plummer, commercial director of Auto Trader, believes adding further cost will slow EV uptake.

He said: “The European Union’s decision to impose tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles is disappointing, and we hope the UK isn’t tempted to take similar action.

“UK drivers already face a lack of affordable choices when it comes to electric cars, so it doesn’t make sense for us to limit those options even further for consumers. We need to bring more buyers into the market by cutting down the green premium which means EVs are usually 35% more expensive than diesel or petrol cars. We’ll only do that with open competition to foster innovation, not by reducing choice for consumers.

“Chinese entrants are already partnering with UK retailers to deliver a quality, affordable product and they will have an important role to play in the UK’s ongoing transition to electric vehicles.”