German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed reservations regarding the imposition of tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs). In an interview with the business weekly Wirtschaftswoche, Chancellor Scholz shared his cautious stance on the matter.
The European Commission is currently conducting an investigation to determine whether punitive tariffs should be applied to shield European Union automakers from the influx of more affordable Chinese EV imports, which are believed to benefit from state subsidies.
In the interview, Chancellor Scholz stated, “I am not very convinced of this, to put it politely.” He went on to emphasize that Germany's economic model should not be founded on protectionism but rather on the appeal and competitiveness of its own products.
Chancellor Scholz cited historical examples to support his position. He pointed out that similar concerns arose when Japanese automakers entered the German market in the 1980s and again in the 1990s when South Korean companies established a presence. Despite these challenges, German automakers managed to maintain their competitiveness.
This statement from Chancellor Scholz underscores the ongoing debate within the European Union about the appropriate measures to safeguard its automotive industry in the face of increased competition from Chinese EV manufacturers.