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News > U.S.

High Tariffs on Chinese Electric Vehicles Hurt US Consumers

  • Chinese electric cars.

    Chinese electric cars. | Photo: X/ @CE_ChinaEconomy

Published 16 May 2024

The Biden administration seeks to protect U.S. jobs through heavy tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles.

Some Western media believe that the White House's decision on Tuesday to increase the tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) imports from some 25 percent to 100 percent will hurt U.S. climate goals, industrial competitiveness, and consumer interests.


The US Aims Its Trade War Towards Chinese Electric Vehicles

"U.S. consumers mostly haven't realized how good and how cheap Chinese-made EVs are, and the new tariff increase will stop them from doing so. After all, Americans will be slower about switching to EVs if they're left with costly options," said an article published by Foreign Policy magazine.

An analysis by The Economist magazine pointed that "U.S. domestic producers may also feel less of an incentive to develop cheap goods in the long term, knowing that they are shielded from foreign competition... Behind a 100 percent tariff wall, American officials and corporate bosses will have less urgency to come up with an answer."

"The Biden administration's plan to slap heavy new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and batteries would provide temporary protection for U.S. auto jobs, potentially at the expense of White House efforts to fight climate change by accelerating U.S. EV adoption," said a Reuters report.

The text reads, "US against China, chapter 3,927. The technological fight continues. There is no point in taxing Chinese electric vehicles. It is an electoral measure."

Industry executives and some analysts believed that a clean-technology trade war between the United States and China could also drive up the costs of EVs, batteries and other EV hardware, keeping overall EV prices high.

"If General Motors, Ford and Stellantis don't have to compete against foreign companies that make EVs, they won't make them. The market will go to (Chinese EV maker) BYD," said Daniel Becker of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that has pushed the Biden administration for stronger climate policies.

Industry insiders and experts argue that imposing tariffs will not accelerate the development of the U.S. EV industry, as the barriers to its progress stem from internal challenges rather than external factors.

"Such imposts aren't just a barrier on the road to net zero: they're also a willful act of economic self-harm," said Bloomberg columnist David Fickling in a recent opinion piece.

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