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Ford boss backs Chinese EV tariffs for ‘level playing field’ as brands under threat


Ford boss Jim Farley has backed the need for tariffs on Chinese electric cars, stressing there needed to be a “level playing field” for firms to catch up.

Last month, Joe Biden’s Government slapped hefty tariffs on Chinese electric car imports with the Ford boss coming out in defence of the move.

The new rules have seen the introduction of a 100 percent tariff on electric vehicles sent to America.

Meanwhile, there is a 25 percent tariff on lithium-ion batteries and battery parts and a 25 percent tariff on critical minerals like graphite and cobalt.

The EU has yet to formally announce any tariffs on EVs with carmakers concerned about being undercut by a surge in cheap vehicles from Asia.

Mr Farley backed the idea of charging the new players in the car market so traditional OEMs could be “competitive” with the latest models.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance’s Opening Bid show, Mr Farley explained: “I think tariffs are an important part of levelling the field for a timeframe.

“But ultimately Ford has to be fully competitive on cost and quality with whoever we compete with including BYD and the Chinese players and we have a plan to do that.

“In the meantime, the Government has a job to do. Just like we face competition in China as an American company as they have very strict laws on privacy.”

He added: “We need the reciprocating policies around privacy and national security for these vehicles that can be autonomous.

“We also need a level playing field because a lot of the companies there have state sponsorship and we do have to compete.

“There will be a timeframe where the level playing field may take the form of this or that Government policy like a tariff.

“But over time as a CEO, I’m not going to depend on that, I’m going to depend on my job is to get fully competitive with that competition.”

Speculation has claimed any EU tariffs could be around at the 30 percent mark with debate around the issue forming part of this weekend’s EU election debates.

At the moment, the UK has not imposed tariffs on electric vehicles from China meaning British motorists could benefit from drastic savings. Models such as the BYD Seagull could be sold brand new for less than £10,000. 

This could be almost £20,000 lower than some of the cheapest new EV available and is likely to cause customers to look at Chinese models first.

Jim added: “The [Chinese] Government got completely got behind this technology many years ago. They supported the companies with tax advantages and registration advantages and free subsidies for the customers.

“They invested in battery technology. I think what we have to do is take the IPs there, localise it, get close to it and learn how to do it ourselves.

“They made a strategic bet and it has paid off so far but after 120 years we’ve seen a lot of competition. We’ve seen competition from every country in the world and there’s always going to be someone new.”

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