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Biden aims to curb the influx of low-cost Chinese electric vehicles.

ByYasmeeta Oon

May 13, 2024
Biden aims to curb the influx of low-cost Chinese electric vehicles.

Biden aims to curb the influx of low-cost Chinese electric vehicles.

In a bold move aimed at recalibrating the competitive landscape of the electric vehicle (EV) market in the United States, President Joe Biden’s administration is reportedly poised to significantly ramp up tariffs on EVs imported from China. The proposed changes include a dramatic increase in existing tariffs and the introduction of additional duties, signaling a tough stance on the influx of cheaper Chinese EVs that could threaten domestic automakers.

Current Tariffs and Proposed Increases The Biden administration’s plan involves a steep increase in the tariffs imposed on Chinese EVs. Currently set at 25%, these tariffs are slated to jump to an unprecedented 100%. Alongside this, an additional duty of 2.5% is expected to be implemented. These measures were first reported by The Wall Street Journal and mark a significant shift in the U.S. trade policy towards imported electric vehicles.

Overview of Proposed Tariff Changes

DescriptionCurrent TariffProposed TariffAdditional Duty
Import Tariff on EVs25%100%
Additional Duty0%2.5%

Concerns Over Chinese Competition The decision to propose these tariff hikes stems from growing concerns among U.S. policymakers regarding the extensive support the Chinese government provides to its automotive sector. China remains the world leader in vehicle exports, with electric models constituting about 30% of its vehicle sales. Many of these vehicles, including the notably affordable BYD Seagull priced around US$10,000, are not only accessible but also boast innovative designs and advanced functionalities.

High-profile industry leaders, such as Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, have expressed concerns over the potential impact of these imports. Musk has previously indicated that without protective trade barriers, Chinese manufacturers could significantly undercut and potentially “demolish” American automakers.

Key Aspects of the U.S. EV Policy Strategy

  • Increase in tariffs: Tariffs on imported Chinese EVs could quadruple to 100%.
  • Additional duty: An introduction of an extra 2.5% duty on these imports.
  • Tax incentives: The U.S. offers a $7,500 EV tax credit to encourage automakers to source batteries domestically or from trade allies, explicitly excluding “foreign entities of concern,” such as China.
  • Security investigations: Ongoing inquiries into the security implications of smart car technologies imported from China.

Policy Measures and Political Reactions In addition to tariff adjustments, the U.S. government has implemented several other protective measures. The EV tax credit, for instance, is designed to bolster domestic and allied manufacturing while sidelining producers from countries identified as “foreign entities of concern.”

However, despite these steps, critics from various quarters, including former President Donald Trump and other Republican leaders, have argued that such policies might not suffice to curb the dominance of Chinese companies in the global automotive market, particularly in sectors related to clean energy, such as solar panels and critical minerals.

Implications for the U.S. EV Market The proposed tariff adjustments are a component of a broader strategy by the Biden administration to fortify domestic industries against competitive pressures from abroad. This approach also aligns with Biden’s ambitious agenda to reduce transportation-related carbon emissions, particularly as the U.S. market shows signs of decelerating in the affordable EV segment.

Long-Term Impact While the immediate effect of these tariffs would be to protect U.S. automakers, the long-term implications on consumer choice, pricing, and innovation in the electric vehicle sector remain to be seen. As the policy unfolds, it will be crucial for the administration to balance protective trade measures with the need to foster an innovative, accessible, and sustainable EV market.

These developments indicate a decisive shift in trade policy under the Biden administration, emphasizing a strategic defense of domestic industries while navigating the complex dynamics of global trade and environmental sustainability. The unfolding scenario will undoubtedly be a critical area of focus for stakeholders in the automotive industry and policymakers in the times to come.


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Featured Image courtesy of Global Times

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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