Biden administration to increase tariffs on Chinese electric cars to 100 percent


The Biden administration will announce new tariffs on electric vehicle and solar cell imports from China, two major components of the administration’s efforts to reduce U.S. emissions, officials confirmed to reporters.

Officials on the call said tariffs will increase from 25 percent to 100 percent on Chinese EV imports to offset Chinese export practices, which they argued “favor Chinese automakers at the expense of US and other foreign automakers and autoworkers and are leading to a massive surge of unfairly underpriced Chinese vehicles into foreign markets.” The administration will also double tariffs on Chinese solar cell imports to 50 percent, officials said on the call. This increase, they said, is meant to counteract Chinese dominance of global solar production, which currently comprises about 70 percent.

The EV tariffs are largely symbolic, as the existing tariffs have largely kept Chinese imports out.  They come a few months after Biden in February ordered a probe of potential national security risks associated with Chinese-made vehicles with Internet connectivity, which includes EVs. The administration has set ambitious goals to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and scale up electric vehicle proliferation, while seeking to assuage concerns within the auto industry that the process would cost American jobs.

The solar cell tariffs, meanwhile, were first imposed by then-president Trump in 2018, with President Biden extending them again in 2022. Trump has himself vowed to impose an aggressive round of tariffs on Chinese imports if he returns to the White House next year, including a 100 percent duty on all vehicles manufactured by Chinese manufacturers in Mexico.

The administration comes the week after one of the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), vowed to join a measure to undo a rule allowing some EVs with battery components like graphite imported from China to qualify for the Inflation Reduction Act’s EV tax credits. Brown tweeted on Friday that “we need to ban Chinese EVs from the U.S. Period.”

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