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Chinese EV Executives’ Worries

In the first quarter of this year, the year-on-year growth rate of BYD’s electric vehicle (EV) exports exceeded 150 percent, reaching over 97,000 units. Some 15,700 vehicles were shipped to Brazil during the first quarter, accounting for 16 percent of total exports. There was also a surge of exports to Mexico, which may be attributed to concern over possible upcoming Mexican tariffs or sanctions following the possible election of Trump as U.S. President.

China’s accelerating EV exports triggered a bidding war on cargo shipping costs. The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index showed that, from late January to late April, the cost of shipping from China to the South American destinations, including Mexico and Brazil, rose by 55.8 percent. These rising shipping costs reflect the increased demand for shipping along those routes.

In contrast, during the same period, the freight index for shipments from China to Europe decreased by 31 percent. Possible factors contributing to the lower demand for shipping from China to Europe include the European Commission’s investigation into accusations of unfair subsidies in China’s EV industry as well as EU tariffs starting as early as July.

An executive from a major Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer stated that “We are not worried about the new tariffs the U.S. might impose on Chinese electric vehicles because we do not sell directly to the U.S. However, we are concerned about the signals [U.S. tariffs] sends to other countries, especially to U.S. allies.”

Source: China Times, May 19, 2024