Turkey hits Chinese cars with additional 40% tariff

Turkey hits Chinese cars with additional 40% tariff
There are suspicions that Chinese car exports are heavily subsidised by Beijing as part of its efforts to support the troubled Chinese economy. / Jengtingchen, cc-by-sa 4.0
By bne IntelliNews June 9, 2024

Turkey is to impose a 40% additional tariff on imports of vehicles from China.

The move will defend domestic automakers and help to prevent a potential deterioration of the Turkish current account balance, Turkey’s trade ministry said on June 8.

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) imports have been subject to the extra tariff, as well as onerous regulations on EV maintenance and services, since March last year. This latest announcement addresses conventional and hybrid passenger vehicles.

It comes ahead of an expected similar move by the European Union—the bloc is expected to notify China this week that it will apply tariffs on Chinese EV imports. The decision could trigger a summer trade war with Beijing.

The additional Turkish tariff will be set at a minimum of $7,000 per vehicle, with effect from July 7, according to a presidential decision published in the country's Official Gazette.

While paying an official visit to China, Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan on June 5 reportedly addressed Turkey’s gaping trade deficit with the Chinese economy—the country’s imports from China stood at $44.9bn in 2023, while exports totalled $3.3bn, according to official data.

China is coming under growing pressure from multiple countries around the world over its fast-growing EV exports. Many nations claim they are being heavily subsidised by Beijing to support the troubled Chinese economy.

"An additional tariff will be imposed on import of conventional and hybrid passenger vehicles from China in order to increase and protect the decreasing share of domestic production," the Turkish trade ministry said.

The decision explained that if the 40% tariff calculated from an imported vehicle’s price is under $7,000 then the minimum tariff of $7,000 will be charged.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, sold $184mn worth of EVs to Turkey in 10M23, almost double the figure for full-year 2022. 

Ankara needs to secure more exports to cut Turkey’s chronic current account deficit. It officially stood at $45.2bn last year.

Turkey, meanwhile, hopes to build up strong domestic and export sales of its state-backed domestically assembled Togg EV.

In mid-May, Turkey was reported as in advanced discussions with major Chinese EV makers BYD and Chery Automobile for factory investments in the country.