Interview: EU-China EV trade needs no more walls, but collaboration, says former EU commissioner
7 Jun 2024


SARAJEVO, June 6 (Xinhua) -- "We don't need more walls, but new models of collaboration," Violeta Bulc, former EU commissioner for transport, has said.


In a recent interview with Xinhua, Bulc, also the vice-chair of the Europe-Asia Center, spoke out against protectionism, as the European Commission's investigation into Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) advances.


Bulc said such protectionist measures inevitably bring more downsides than benefits, warning that tariffs could backfire and lead to a reduction in investment and missed opportunities to enhance mobility safety and reliability in Europe and beyond.


The tariffs, she said, would hinder Europe's ability to deliver on the green agenda as part of a global effort, where Europe and China should be leading the way instead.


Rather than erecting trade barriers, Bulc emphasized the importance of a collaborative approach that allows European consumers to benefit from the continuous improvements in Chinese EV technology.


"Chinese EVs are becoming well-positioned within the European market, demonstrating a deep understanding of consumer needs," Bulc said, adding that based on her experience of test-driving Chinese EVs, they were "nothing unworthy of praise" combining high levels of comfort with excellent driving performance.


Bulc pointed out that the automotive industries of the EU and China have become deeply intertwined, making it unrealistic and counterproductive to cut off trade ties.


Bulc said she hopes to see the pioneering technology of Chinese EVs play a larger role in developing European public transport, contributing to the green transformation of Europe's urban and rural transport infrastructure.


"I was pleasantly surprised with China's modern transport infrastructure," she said. "The fully electrified transport in major cities involving both public and private transport with very affordable prices was a real eye opener during my last tourist visit to China."


Bulc highlighted that cooperation on smart mobility and green transportation, including rail, could serve as a cornerstone for further EU-China collaboration, calling for dialogue and other trust-building measures.


"All parties should work together, sharing innovation infrastructure, better aligning regulatory frameworks and governance systems," Bulc said.


"The world is not a static model, but constantly dynamic and evolving," she said, urging policymakers to innovate their political and economic models. "If our relationships are evolving, our structures need to evolve as well."


"It's time to get rid of fears and start trusting each other," said Bulc. "We should find the right balance for global collaboration, acknowledge different paths and establish a new foundation where diversity is taken as a catalyzer for a shared and prosperous future."


Source: Xinhua