Perhaps Ursula von der Leyen’s supposedly good news of protection for Europe’s car manufacturers will come in time for the election. Members of Parliament in Brussels and German car managers at least expect the EU Commission President to announce it soon: protective tariffs against China’s car industry, which, in her words, is “flooding us with cheaper Chinese electric cars”. Last week, Joe Biden imposed tariffs in the USA, including 100 percent on electric cars. Some would find it consistent if Europe also took action, even if it would probably be more about 25 percent than 100 percent. CSU MEP Markus Ferber, spokesman for the economy for the conservatives in parliament, says: “It would be a clear message to industrial workers and medium-sized companies in the supplier sector: We are fighting back!”

It is not just electric cars that are pushing their way into Europe, but also steel, batteries, electronic parts and medical products. In China, mass factories have been built with state support. Now the market there is becoming increasingly saturated. The output is pushing its way into the world markets. This will destroy domestic industries, warn tariff advocates like Biden. And if the USA closes its borders, even more goods will go to Europe, fear local supporters of isolation. But tariffs could set in motion what the world economy has been talking about for a long time: a global trade war with China.

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