On 5 June, the European Union is expected to present a first draft of the duties to be imposed on the import of Chinese electric cars to the Old Continent, a harsh response to the investigation that has shown that the Asian giant has - and is - incentivising its electric vehicle industry.

All of this would result in higher prices for battery-powered models from China, leading to lower sales. A manoeuvre that, according to Reuters, is convincing Beijing to enter into negotiations with the European Commission.

Mutual aid

According to a report by the news agency, a 10 per cent increase in duties on Chinese electric cars, on top of the 10 per cent already in place, would cost eastern exporters around £850 million more. Costs that are bound to rise given the current trend, with more and more models coming from the People's Republic. 

Also according to Reuters, the European Commission could impose additional duties of between 9 and 26 per cent from July, with the possibility of making them retroactive by three months. The damage would be incalculable.

A harsh action that, however, would not be in anyone's interest. On the one hand China needs a commercial outlet in Europe to counter the fall in domestic margins, and on the other hand, European manufacturers - primarily German - do not want to undermine relations with the Asian giant, an important market both for sales and for partnerships with local brands.

The spectrum of duties for the time being sees China threatening to raise tariffs on imports to 25 per cent, but open to the possibility of reducing them to 10 per cent (they are currently at 15 per cent) in the event of a U-turn by the European Commission. It now remains to be seen whether Europe - China will open negotiations to resolve the issue peacefully.