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In a conversation with the Financial Times, Ola Källenius made it clear that protective duties and protectionist policies only harm business. The head of Mercedes-Benz proposed reducing import duties on electric vehicles from China to a minimum: in his opinion, in the future this will allow European automakers to produce better cars.

Ola Kallenius’s statements contradict the policy of the European Union: the European Commission is considering the possibility of increasing import duties and suspects Beijing of unfair competition. However, the Mercedes-Benz boss cites China as an example. “The best Chinese companies are against protectionism. They want to compete in the world, like everyone else,” the top manager emphasized.

Chinese electric vehicles are opposed by Renault and Stellantis, which do not have large businesses in the Middle Kingdom. German automakers, for whom China is the main market, are against the tightening of import duties by the European Union, because Beijing may take retaliatory measures. Ola Källenius’s position makes sense because Mercedes-Benz is seeking to focus on more expensive and luxurious models, which Chinese electric cars do not yet compete with.

Chinese electric cars are currently subject to a ten percent tariff when imported into Europe. European automakers pay 15 percent when exporting to China, but most automakers get around the restrictions by assembling locally. Volkswagen has joint ventures with FAW, SAIC and JAC, Mercedes-Benz with Beijing, BMW with Brilliance.

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