US Cites Threat of Chinese EVs Made in Mexico as Trade Worry

Biden Administration Is Considering Ways to Block Companies if They Seek to Circumvent Tariffs on Chinese EVs
Katherine Tai
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai speaks with reporters in the press briefing room at the White House in Washington on May 14. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

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The Biden administration is watching for any attempts by Chinese companies to export cars from Mexico into the U.S. and considering ways to block them if they seek to circumvent tariffs targeting electric vehicles made in China, his top trade negotiator said.

The government is monitoring Chinese moves in Mexico and on alert for any sign new factories there could be used to gain access to the American car market, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said May 14.

Her comments come the same day the White House quadrupled tariffs on EVs imported from China, a move designed to protect a strategic growth sector for U.S. automakers.

“We are all paying attention to the fact that there are Chinese industries, state owned-companies, that are buying up land, establishing facilities” in third countries “and looking for other ways of accessing the U.S. market,” Tai said in a Bloomberg Television interview at the White House. Chinese companies have been buying up land south of the border.

The interview followed earlier comments from Tai during a press briefing that Chinese expansion in Mexico is a “serious concern” for USTR and that the agency is “looking at all of our tools to see if we can address the problem.”

BYD Co., the leader in electric vehicles in China, has been considering building an EV plant in Mexico, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year. On May 14, as the company debuted its first truck in Mexico, its Americas chief said that BYD is negotiating with three Mexican states and will have a final location for the plant confirmed by the end of the year.

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