UPDATE 1-China to import more from France, foreign minister says amid European autos probe

Yahoo Finance · 01 Apr 4.4K Views

By Laurie Chen

BEIJING, April 1 (Reuters) - China on Monday promised to import more high-quality products and services from France, after a European probe into Chinese electric vehicle exports supported by Paris threatened to spark a tit-for-tat trade dispute between the two countries.

China's foreign minister Wang Yi, at a joint press event with his French counterpart, Stephane Sejourne, said China hoped that Europe's de-risking policy was not targeted at specific countries and should not violate World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Wang said de-coupling with China is the biggest risk.

"We are constantly relaxing market access, including promoting the flow of cross-border data," Wang said, adding that China will do more to address French companies' market access concerns.

Sejourne said France will continue its talks on de-risking with China, and that it does not suggest that the European Union will take protectionist measures.

Europe has been pursuing a de-risking strategy and reducing dependency on China to retain its industrial edge and competitiveness.

Last year, the European Commission launched an investigation on whether China's EV industry has benefited from unfair subsidies, and to determine whether to impose higher tariffs on imports of Chinese EVs to protect European car makers, a move that was promoted by Paris.

In response, China in January launched an anti-dumping investigation into brandy imports from Europe, of which the overwhelming majority are from France.

China's commerce minister will travel to Europe this month accompanied by representatives of targeted market-leading automakers BYD, SAIC and Geely for discussions about the Commission's investigation, Reuters reported citing sources.

In his speech, Sejourne also said France is worried about North Korea providing ballistic missiles to Russia for the war in Ukraine, adding that there will be no lasting peace if Ukraine is not a main party in peace talks.

(Reporting by Laurie Chen; Writing by Bernard Orr and Liz Lee; Editing by Alison Williams and Sonali Paul)

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