America is determined to keep Chinese electric vehicles out. Should Canada follow suit? – by David Olive (Toronto Star – May 25, 2024)

Canada is determined to create a comprehensive EV supply chain whose viability could be diminished by Chinese EV imports, David Olive writes.

Canada’s place in a global electric vehicle (EV) industry that will be worth an estimated $12 trillion by 2030 is at risk of becoming a flashpoint in the U.S.-China trade war. U.S. President Joe Biden last week roughly quadrupled tariffs on imported Chinese EVs to 102.5 per cent.

That puts Canada in an awkward position. Canada can join Biden in defending a Fortress North America, imposing high tariffs that put otherwise low-priced Chinese EVs out of reach of Canadian buyers. Or it can potentially undermine a nascent Canadian EV ecosystem by not protecting it from a surge of cheap Chinese imports.

Ottawa’s response to the Biden tariffs last week was to merely muse about raising Canada’s current tariff of about six per cent on Chinese vehicle imports. A Chinese auto sector long focused on the domestic Chinese market is now aggressively expanding worldwide.

Chinese EV imports have made significant inroads in the Brazilian and Mexican markets, in the latter case breaching Fortress North America.

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