The EU will slap import tariffs of up to 38.1% on battery electric cars made in China, after the European Commission’s anti-probe investigation confirms “unfair subsidisation.”

In a statement on Wednesday, the EC announced provisional countervailing duties that will be introduced from 4 July, if discussions with Chinese authorities don’t lead to an “effective solution.” The duties would be collected if and when definitive duties are imposed.

For now, carmakers and EU countries have been informed of different tariffs based on the EC’s calculations. These will be available for review, but member states can’t interfere with amounts. They will eventually be required to vote on the proposal. However, “measures can be imposed even if the qualified majority is not reached, provided the votes against do not reach a simple majority.”

The average weighted tariff for BEV producers in China cooperating with the probe is 21%. Those that didn’t cooperate, like China state-owned carmaker SAIC, would be subject to a 38.1% duty, the EC says.

Other disclosed individual sample duties include 17.4% for BYD and 20% for Geely, the latter is the parent company for a number of European brands including Volvo Cars, Polestar and Lotus.

“Following a substantiated request, one BEV producer in China – Tesla – may receive an individually calculated duty rate at the definitive stage,” the EC says, without elaborating.

Reacting to the long-awaited announcement, European automotive trade body ACEA says that “free and fair trade is essential in creating a globally competitive European automotive industry.” It adds that healthy competition drives innovation and choice for consumers, while emphasising that what the European auto sector needs “above all else is a robust industrial strategy for electromobility.”

“The tariffs are welcome but Europe needs a strong industrial policy to speed up electrification and localise manufacturing.” adds Julia Poliscanova, senior director for vehicles and emobility supply chains at T&E. “Just introducing tariffs while scrapping the 2035 deadline for polluting cars would slow down the transition and be self-defeating.”

The campaign group said in March that one in four BEVs sold in Europe this year could be imported from China, led by European carmakers with production in Asia. The trend is set to reverse in the period up to 2027.

On 11 June, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Jian Lin said Beijing urges the EU to terminate the investigation as soon as possible to avoid damaging China-EU economic and trade cooperation, as well as the stability of supply chains. “If the EU insists on its own way, China will never sit idly by and will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests,” Lin added.

Currently, BEVs imported from China are subject to a 10% duty in the EU. European BEVs face a 15% import tariff in China.