Chinese electric vehicle makers to raise overseas investments due to trade barriers: Fitch

Chinese electric vehicle makers to raise overseas investments due to trade barriers: Fitch

Carmakers with diversified export destinations more likely to withstand risks of escalating trade barriers, says rating agency

By Ovunc Kutlu

ISTANBUL (AA) - Electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers in China are expected to increase their investment in alternative markets and diversify production as they face escalating trade tensions in the EV sector and more trade barriers, Fitch Ratings said Thursday.

The European Commission has recently unveiled duties it would impose on EVs imported from China, and those tariffs could undermine Chinese carmakers’ growth prospects in the EU with higher pricing pressure and reduced competitiveness, it said in a statement.

Chinese automakers BYD, Geely and SAIC will be subject to duties of 17.4%, 20% and 38.1%, respectively, on top of the ordinary 10%, said the rating agency.

"Carmakers are likely to diversify production facilities globally, a trend in recent years," it said. "We believe carmakers with diversified export destinations are more likely to withstand the risks of escalating trade barriers."

Fitch noted that BYD’s top export markets also include Brazil, Thailand, Israel, Australia and Malaysia.

The US, in addition, proposed tariffs hikes last month on Chinese EVs to 100%, which could also affect various key inputs to the EV supply chain, according to Fitch.

"However, the direct impact of the US tariff hikes is currently limited, as Geely’s Polestar is the only original equipment manufacturer exporting EVs directly from China to the US," said the statement. "Most Chinese companies have been cautious due to the rising geopolitical tensions, and have limited their direct exposures to the US market."

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