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"Overcapacity" claim unfavorable to globalization, free trade

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-15 08:52

SAIC's Roewe brand showcases its models at the 2023 Shanghai auto show. [Photo provided to CHINA DAILY]

The "overcapacity" rhetoric used by the United States to describe China's green industries runs counter to globalization and free trade.

After decades of rapid development, China's new energy industry has gained a competitive advantage thanks to the country's super-large market, a complete industrial system and abundant human resources, as well as huge investment in R&D and innovation, and the country's remarkably enhanced entrepreneurship.

The popularity at home and abroad of China's new energy products, such as electric vehicles, is a vivid example demonstrating clearly that all countries have the potential to cultivate their own industrial strengths. It is a simple fact that no country can maintain a leading position in all sectors.

The accusation of "overcapacity" in China's new energy industries is untenable. China consumes the lion's share of the new energy vehicles (NEV) it produces. Sales match output in China's NEV sector. Globally, the capacity of new energy products is currently far from meeting the growing demand.

Latest figures further rebut such "overcapacity" concerns. In the first quarter of 2024, China's NEV output surged 28.2 percent year on year to nearly 2.12 million units, while its NEV sales climbed 31.8 percent year on year to 2.09 million units. China's NEV exports reached 307,000 units in this period, up 23.8 percent year on year, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed.

International observers have criticized the "overcapacity" accusation as a violation of the basic norms of economics.

"It's bad enough that misguided steel protectionism over the past decade has served only to raise costs and reduce competitiveness for the rest of the US economy. Worse still is the way the same failed policy is now being dragged out to support far more damaging barriers on clean technology, slowing our ability to halt the rise in global temperatures," Bloomberg columnist David Fickling said in an article in early April.

Affordable and quality new energy products from China are a great boon to the welfare of people all over the world. China's new energy sector provides fresh win-win opportunities in international economic and trade cooperation. It poses no threat to the global economy and injects momentum into green development. From the perspectives of economics, the status quo of and global demand for new energy products, "overcapacity" concerns are unfounded and unnecessary.

Like the "decoupling" and "de-risking" push in recent years, "overcapacity" rhetoric may be just another discourse trap to suppress China's new energy industry and contain China's development.

In fact, trade protectionist measures were common in history, but they did not help solve substantive problems of countries resorting to such moves. Will the US repeat the error evident in its steel sector in "protecting" its green industries?

It is normal to have different opinions on a matter, but the differences should be viewed in a rational manner and handled properly. Any reckless and protectionist measures based on selfish motives will lead nowhere.

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