Business Maverick

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UK’s Badenoch says EU won’t budge on post-Brexit EV tariffs

UK’s Badenoch says EU won’t budge on post-Brexit EV tariffs
An Opel Rocks-e Cargo electric vehicle on day two of the Munich Motor Show in Munich, Germany, on Wednesday, 6 September 2023. (Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said the European Union’s refusal so far to delay the introduction of post-Brexit tariffs on electric vehicles is driven by “ideological reasons”, as Britain awaits a decision from the EU commission.

“Let’s just remove the tariffs,” Badenoch said in an interview with the Spectator magazine during Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Tuesday. The EU’s position is “very harmful and dangerous” because it ignores German car manufacturers “screaming” out for the tariffs to be dropped, she said.

Most of the EU’s 27 member states, led by Germany, are open to delaying the deadline as a one-off, Bloomberg reported on Monday. France has emerged as the main roadblock because its government doesn’t want to appear to give in to UK requests. 

The UK and EU have been in talks over a delay at official level for several months, but the EU hasn’t made a decision. 

France Opposes Delay of Post-Brexit EV Tariffs as Deadline Nears

At stake is whether EVs traded between the UK and the EU will attract a 10% tariff from next year if less than 45% of their value comes from the region, as stipulated under post-Brexit agreements. European carmakers want to extend the planned phase-in period by three years, allowing more time for the region’s battery supply chain to develop. The industry has said the move could cost the sector €4.3-billion (R88-billion) over the next three years and would benefit Chinese competitors.

In recent weeks, the biggest lobby group for European car manufacturers dialled up pressure to delay the electric-vehicle tariffs, saying they could reduce production in the region by 480,000 cars over three years.

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