Home China China Files Complaint With WTO Over Biden’s EV Plans

China Files Complaint With WTO Over Biden’s EV Plans

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A view of the Ultium Cell factory in Warren, Ohio, July 7, 2023. China says it has filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization over US subsidies for electric vehicles. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

BEIJING: China has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the US over what it says are discriminatory requirements for electric vehicle subsidies. In a statement posted online, the Chinese commerce ministry said that the US formulated discriminatory subsidy policies for new energy vehicles in the name of responding to climate change. It said the move by the United States excluded Chinese products, distorted fair competition and disrupted the global supply chain for new energy vehicles (NEVs).

Starting this year, US car buyers are not eligible for tax credits of $3,750 to $7,500 if critical minerals or other battery components were made by Chinese, Russian, North Korean or Iranian companies. The credits are part of US President Joe Biden’s signature climate legislation, named the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.

“We urge the US to abide by WTO rules, respect the development trend of the global NEV industry, promptly correct its discriminatory industrial policies and maintain the stability of the global NEV industry and supply chains,” the state-run Global Times quoted a Chinese commerce ministry spokesperson as saying.

Member countries of the Geneva-based WTO can file complaints about the trade practices of other members and seek relief through a dispute settlement process.

The real-world impact of the case is uncertain. If the United States loses and appeals the ruling, China’s case would likely go nowhere. That is because the WTO’s Appellate Body, its supreme court, hasn’t functioned since late 2019, when the US blocked the appointment of new judges to the panel.

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China is the dominant player in batteries for electric vehicles and has a rapidly expanding auto industry that could challenge the world’s established carmakers as it goes global. Its strength is in electric vehicles and its companies have become leaders in battery technology.

The European Union, concerned about the potential threat to its auto industry, launched its own investigation into Chinese subsides for electric vehicles last year.

Under new US rules that took effect January 1, only 13 of the more than 50 EVs on sale in the US were eligible for tax credits, down from about two dozen models in 2023. Automakers have been scrambling to source parts that would make their models eligible for the credits.

With inputs from AP