Chinese electric car manufacturers are accused of undercutting European and US rivals by producing vehicles at significantly lower costs, thereby distorting the market. So to level the playing field for European car manufacturers, the EU announced plans to impose tariffs of up to 38% on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs). This decision follows the US’s recent move to raise its tariff on Chinese EVs from 25% to 100% last month.

However, the EU’s decision is fraught with concerns about possible Chinese retaliation and strained trade relations. Hence, Real Research, an online survey app, delves into the anxieties surrounding the rise of cheap Chinese EVs.

Key Findings:

  • Two-thirds liked the idea of tariffs on these Chinese EVs to even the odds for European manufacturers.
  • While over half thought the proposed 38% was good, 43% wanted an even higher tariff.
  • Not everyone thought tariffs were the best answer. A quarter thought Europe should focus on strengthening its own car industry instead.

Is China’s EV Industry a Threat to the EU?

According to a press release, “The Commission has provisionally concluded that the battery electric vehicles (BEV) value chain in China benefits from unfair subsidization, which is causing a threat of economic injury to EU BEV producers.” This has led the EU to propose tariffs as high as 38% on imports of cheap Chinese EVs.

These tariffs, expected to bring in over €2 billion annually, aim to level the playing field for European car manufacturers. This decision is intended to enable European manufacturers to compete fairly against their Chinese counterparts.

Figure 1: Respondents’ stance on the EU’s plan to impose tariffs on imported Chinese EVs.

As per the survey findings, 72% of respondents were already aware of cheap Chinese EVs threatening other car industries. Furthermore, 66.66% endorse the EU’s plan to impose tariffs, viewing it as an effective way to protect domestic European car manufacturers and ensure fair competition.

Public Back Tariffs, But at What Cost?

Despite supporting tariffs, there’s a split on the ideal rate. While over half (56.82%) find 38% sufficient, 43.18% believe a higher tariff is necessary,

Figure 2: Alternative measures to address the competitiveness of cheap Chinese EVs.

But while some debate on how much tariffs should be imposed, others argue whether tariffs are the most effective solution. Although 22% insisted on imposing tariffs on cheap Chinese EVs, the rest suggested alternatives such as strengthening European industrial policy (25.82%), negotiating trade agreements with China (26%), or offering subsidies to European car manufacturers (26.18%).

Can China and the EU Find Common Ground?

The impact of the EU’s plan to impose tariffs on Chinese EVs might not be one-sided though. European automakers themselves are keen on accessing China’s vast auto market and forging partnerships in the EV sector to reduce their own costs. Still, a slight majority (50.62%) believe Chinese EV makers will be more negatively affected by the EU’s tariff proposal than European automakers.

Figure 3: Will China-EU tariff negotiations on EVs lead to a mutually beneficial outcome?

Recently, top officials from both regions spoke about the tariffs and have agreed to negotiate. In light of this, 66.2% believe negotiations between China and the EU can lead to a mutually beneficial outcome.


Survey TitleAre Cheap Chinese EVs Threatening the US and European Car Industries?
DurationJune 15 – June 24, 2024
Number of Participants5,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.