Biden Administration blocks US entry for Chinese EVs

US President Joe Biden made headlines ;ast week when he announced quadruple tariffs – of more than 100% – on electric vehicles from China. Less noticed was his commerce chief’s declaration the next day: sometime this fall, the US will issue an entirely new rule around Chinese EVs – not on trade levies, but on data and cybersecurity.

This has been in the works for some time. Secretary Gina Raimondo has said she raised concerns about internet-connected cars from China during her August trip to the Asian country. In January, she expressed fears that the vehicles scoop up information about drivers and send it to Beijing. After a sweeping policy review, those worries became an official probe, says Bloomberg.

The bipartisan consensus is that Chinese connected cars, which currently have a near-zero presence on American roads, could pose an existential threat to US national security.

“Maybe it’s a roving spy lab,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham theorized at a defense tech forum earlier this month. “It’s like an iPhone on wheels,” Raimondo told MSNBC back in February.

Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown has already called for a wholesale ban on “finished vehicles and technology that is designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied” from China.

Chinese carmakers say they comply with laws and regulations wherever they do business, but that hasn’t reassured US legislators.

Underlying all the rhetoric is a basic economic threat to American automakers, whose cars cost about five times as much as Chinese vehicles. Even with tax credits from Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, US EVs can’t reach the price points of their heavily subsidized Chinese rivals.

One potential path around tariffs for Chinese auto firms interested in the US might be to set up factories in Mexico, but Brown’s proposed ban would preclude that approach. US officials have repeatedly said the issues are separate.

(Pic – Konstantin Grigolev)


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