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China newspaper says EU probe into EVs 'excessive', sparked by 'jealousy'

FILE PHOTO: Geely vehicles and logo are seen at a car dealership in Shanghai

BEIJING (Reuters) - The nationalist Chinese newspaper Global Times described as "excessive" Europe's probe into cheaper Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), and said China's superior offering are the envy of other automakers.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Wednesday the investigation a week after executives at Munich's IAA mobility show said European carmakers had a fight on their hands to produce lower-cost EVs and to close the gap on China's lead in making cheaper, more consumer-friendly models.

Beijing has since blasted the investigation as a protectionist act aimed at shielding Europe's own industry in the name of "fair competition", and warned economic ties could be harmed.

"To tell the truth, when Chinese new energy vehicles shone brightly at the recent 2023 International Motor Show in Germany, we heard some envious and even jealous remarks but we didn't expect Europe's response to be so 'excessive'," the Global Times said in an editorial.

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Analysts have warned that should the EU levy duties against Chinese EVs after the probe, which could take up to 13 months, China would likely impose countermeasures, hitting European industries.

"If Europe lacks the confidence and courage to win the market through fair competition, it will be impossible to establish competitiveness in the EV industry," the newspaper wrote.

The investigation is expected to be a focus of talks when EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis visits China later this month, where he is expected to renew calls for fair competition.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; editing by Miral Fahmy)