Joe Biden attacks China with massive electric vehicle tariff hike after warnings of 'extinction-level event'

Joe Biden attacks China with massive electric vehicle tariff hike after warnings of 'extinction-level event'

WATCH: EJ Antoni on EVs in the US

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 14/05/2024

- 16:15

The new tariffs will come into practice this year

President Joe Biden has taken aim at China in the latest escalation of electric car tensions with a major announcement on EV imports.

The White House announced earlier today that the tariff rate on electric vehicles will increase from 25 per cent to 100 per cent this year.

Biden argued that the tariff rate hike would protect American manufacturers from China's "unfair trade practices".

As part of the "Investing in America" agenda, the President has continually stressed the importance of protecting the US automotive industry.

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Electric car charging and Joe Biden

Joe Biden says the new tariffs will protect American automotive workers


The tariffs are believed to impact an estimated $18billion (£14.3billion) worth of imports, according to the White House.

Tariffs will also be hiked on lithium batteries (from 7.5 per cent to 25 per cent), semiconductors (from 25 per cent to 50 per cent), critical minerals (from zero to 25 per cent) and solar cells (from 25 per cent to 50 per cent).

A White House briefing stated that the Government is boosting the EV market with tax credits for manufacturers and drivers looking to switch away from petrol and diesel.

This includes business tax credits, consumer tax credits for EV adoption, smart standards, federal investments in charging infrastructure, and grants to supply EV and battery manufacturing.

The White House added: "The increase in the tariff rate on electric vehicles will protect these investments and jobs from unfairly priced Chinese imports."

However, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said that the new tariff rates were "a naked act of bullying", AP reported.

He maintained that China's dominance in the EV industry and battery production capabilities was down to technological innovation and not subsidies.

Previous reports suggested that some Chinese manufacturers were looking at developing production facilities in Mexico in a bid to get around the high tariffs imposed on China.

The new tariffs are likely to be supported by the automotive industry across the United States after many expressed their feelings about the threat of cheap Chinese EVs.

Speaking previously, Scott Paul, President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, warned that the United States needed to stand up to Chinese exports of cheap electric vehicles.

He said: "Existing U.S. tariffs and trade action have staved off an extinction-level event for the US auto industry, which is central both to our economic and national security. But China’s predatory trade practices know no bounds.

"America’s workers and manufacturers depend on policy leaders to defend them with the trade tools they need to compete on a level playing field and allow our nation’s auto industry and its supply base to flourish."


A BYD electric car

BYD is one of the most popular Chinese EV brands


The European Union has also considered introducing harsher tariffs on Chinese companies exporting cheap electric vehicles in a bid to protect legacy automotive manufacturers.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said Europe needed to remain competitive as more drivers switch to electric vehicles.

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