Tariffs on electric cars and batteries criticized

Experts see US actions as failed policy that is likely to backfire

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco and YIFAN XU in Washington | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-05-27 09:21
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Local residents visit a BYD electric car factory in Salvador, Brazil, on July 5. The factory is expected to start production later this year and will create more than 5,000 jobs in the area. WANG TIANCONG/XINHUA

Tronson pointed to the potential negative impact on Biden's climate goals. The administration has said EVs are central to its climate change strategy, and restricting access to EV battery technologies, in which China leads the world, may slow the US transition to clean energy.

Tronson highlighted the technology to extract metals such as lithium, cobalt, manganese and nickel from old EV batteries and recycle them into new EV batteries.

China has more than half the world's battery and production scrap and leads in preprocessing and material recovery capacity, a recent Bloomberg report said, citing the consultancy Circular Energy Storage in London.

China has been able to produce electric cars with recycled batteries at scale and dominates in battery recycling, thus making them doubly green.

Gordon Johnson, the founder of GLJ Research in New York, called the 100 percent tariff on Chinese EVs "purely political".

"There are virtually no Chinese EV cars imported into the US, so the tariffs on Chinese EVs are clearly, simply virtue signaling from Biden to try to look tough on China in an election year. I liken it to throwing a paper towel into the ocean to try to dry it out."

Some academics have also expressed frustration over the White House action.

"All the evidence is very clear that the tariffs hurt American businesses and American consumers," said Anthony Moretti, head and an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Organizational Leadership of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.

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