Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio reportedly said it strongly opposed the European Union’s use of increased tariffs as a strategy to obstruct the normal global electric vehicle trade but its commitment to Europe’s EV market was unwavering.

Nio “will continue to serve our users and explore new opportunities within Europe despite protectionism”, the automaker said in a statement cited by Reuters.

The EU had decided to apply additional duties of up to 38.1% on imported Chinese electric vehicles from July and believed that could cost companies over US$7.5bn.

Nio, which is among what the EU identified as cooperating companies which would be subject to a 21% additional duty rate [on top of the existing 10% on EV imports], said it would closely monitor the situation and make decisions which aligned with the best interests of its business, Reuters reported.

“As the ongoing investigation has yet to reach a conclusion, we remain hopeful for a solution,” it said.

“The EU’s provisional tariffs come basically within our expectations, which won’t have much of an impact on the majority of Chinese firms,” Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association, told Reuters.

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Those exporting China-made EVs including Tesla, Geely and BYD still had huge potential for development in Europe in the future, he added.

Brussels said earlier it would set tariffs of 17.4% for BYD and 20% for Geely, on top of that existing EU tariff of 10%.

Western producers such as Tesla and BMW which export cars from China to Europe were deemed cooperating companies, the report noted.