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China auto stocks shrug off Europe's EV tariffs

STORY: Chinese auto shares jumped Thursday, despite the EU’s move a day earlier to hit their exports of EVs with big new tariffs.

BYD was up over 7% in morning trade, while Geely jumped around 3%.

Analysts say the tariffs were largely as expected, while makers expressed confidence they could cope.

EV brand Nio said its commitment to the European market was “unwavering”, while a Chinese auto industry body said the duties wouldn’t have much effect.

Even so, China is urging the EU to rethink.

Brussels hit EV exports from the country with duties of up to 38.1% on Wednesday, over what it says are excessive state subsidies.

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In Beijing, a foreign ministry spokesman said that was the wrong approach, and hinted at a stern response:

“We urge the EU to abide by its commitment to support free trade and oppose protectionism, and work with China to safeguard the overall situation of China-EU economic and trade cooperation. China will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.”

The European move comes less than a month after Washington quadrupled its tariffs on Chinese EVs.

Western capitals fear their automakers are threatened by an influx of cheap Chinese cars.

But the tariffs get little support from European firms, which now fear retaliation by China - the world’s top market for cars.

BMW said the duties were the “wrong way to go”.

Volkswagen said the “negative effects” of the tariffs outweighed any benefits.

China accounts for close to a third of sales at both firms, meaning they could really suffer if Beijing bites back.

The levies will also hit cars from western brands made in China for export to Europe, including BMW, Renault and Tesla.