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November 3, 2016

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No prejudice against German e-car makers

GERMAN carmakers will not be discriminated against in the electric-car market, Germany’s economy minister said in Beijing yesterday after meeting with Chinese industry minister Miao Wei.

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel is on a trip to Beijing, where they discussed China’s plans to set quotas for electric cars and attach conditions that worry German automakers.

The quotas would require that a certain number of cars built in China be zero-emission vehicles, starting in 2018, regardless of who builds them, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said on Tuesday, citing a draft law by the Chinese government.

Carmakers not complying with the quota system could be forced to curtail production in China, the newspaper said, without being more specific.

Miao “indicated that he does not share the impression that we have, that our auto industry would be excluded in the planning of new driving technology,” Gabriel said.

Miao said any German carmaker that produced in China would be treated equally with Chinese companies, Gabriel added.

Volkswagen and Daimler have been taking steps to expand capacity in China where strong auto demand has helped carmakers offset falling sales in South America and other regions. But electric-vehicle production remains at a fledgling stage.

VW, Europe’s biggest carmaker and one of the first global automakers to set up production facilities in China during the 1980s, signed a preliminary deal with China’s Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC Motor) only two months ago to explore making electric cars in a joint venture.

Gabriel said German automakers have no reason to be worried that China would differentiate between German and Chinese firms.

“He said that was not the case,” Gabriel told reporters, adding that German companies were not obligated to use Chinese suppliers.


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