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Member states in the EU are revolting against Ursula von der Leyen’s plans to impose revenge tariffs on Brexit Britain on the import of e-vehicles.
The row has broken out because the UK has cornered key parts of the international e-vehicle market, including becoming the pivotal point in the supply chain for rare minerals needed for batteries.
The European Commission led by von der Leyen had wanted to press ahead with punitive tariffs which would cost exporters from the UK millions in revenge for Brexit.
But Director General of the Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT) Marco Forgione, who regularly attends meetings in the EU and advises Kemi Badenoch, says that member states are pushing back on the plans.
They fear that a lack of capacity in EU e-vehicle production and key supply chains will leave them short as they attempt to reach their 2050 Net Zero targets on carbon emissions.
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The revelation comes after a string of successes for Brexit Britain which has most recently seen Jaguar Land Rover commit to building its latest battery factory in Somerset.
Previously Ford and Nissan have been among the leading car manufacturers to commit to Brexit Britain despite claims by Remainers that they would leave.
Added to that, the UK Government’s work on creating robust supply chains to combat the threat from China has led to the UK becoming an important centre for rare minerals needed for car batteries and other electronic goods.
Mr Forgione noted that this has helped with trade deals including one expected to be signed shortly with Florida.
He said that the IOE&IT is collaborating with the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) in building up the critical minerals strategy.
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He said: “One of the biggest problems we have is the pressure on e-vehicles and the trade of vehicles between Great Britain and the EU.
“We’re seeing pressure now from the EU [member states], for the Commission to delay full implementation of the demands of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) around electric vehicles because e-vehicle production in Europe hasn’t scaled up sufficiently.
“Part of that will be the supply chain starting to get the critical minerals required.”
He added that the UK is in much better shape than the EU to deal with the challenges.
He said: “The announcement of the investment from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in Bridgewater, not far from where I grew up, is a real statement on how they see the UK and the role that the UK can play.
“So making sure that we’ve got resilient supply chains for those critical minerals, a digital approach to the transport assurance of critical minerals is key.”
EU member state diplomatic sources have confirmed that there are “concerns” over implementing the punitive TCA quickly on e-vehicles.
One source said: “The Commission needs to listen.”
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