European Commission investigators will come to inspect Chinese carmakers in the coming weeks as part of an investigation into whether to impose punitive tariffs to protect Europe's EV makers, Reuters reported.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

European Commission investigators will inspect Chinese carmakers in the coming weeks as part of a probe into whether to impose punitive tariffs to protect European electric vehicle (EV) makers, Reuters said in a report today, citing three people involved in the process.

They will inspect (OTCMKTS: BYDDF), Geely and SAIC, two of the sources said. One of the sources said the investigators would not inspect non-Chinese brands that produce in China, such as , Renault and BMW.

One source said the investigators had arrived in China, and another said the investigators were planning visits this month and February, according to Reuters.

The visits are for verification work, or on-site inspections, to check automakers' responses to questionnaires, according to the report.

The European Commission's investigation documents say the investigation is in the " initiation stage" and that verification visits will take place by April 11, the report noted.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on September 13 that the EU would launch an investigation into EVs from China to assess whether punitive tariffs are needed.

The investigation was officially launched on October 4, and the European Commission's announcement at the time said it would first determine whether China's EV value chain has benefited from subsidies and whether such subsidies have caused, or are likely to cause, economic harm to EU EV producers.

"The investigation will be concluded within maximum 13 months of initiation. If legally warranted, any provisional anti-subsidy duties may be imposed by 9 months after initiation, with any definitive measures to be imposed up to 4 months later or within 13 months of the initiation of the investigation," the announcement reads.

China issued an objection at the time, with China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) saying the investigation lacked sufficient evidence and that it was not in line with WTO rules.

This is blatant protectionist behavior, which will seriously disrupt and distort the supply chain of the global automotive industry chain, including the European Union, and negatively affect China-EU economic and trade relations, according to a statement by the MOC in October.

A BYD executive previously said the company is not worried about the EU's anti-subsidy investigation.

BYD will keep pushing for strong growth in Europe even as an anti-subsidy investigation begin in the region, said Stella Li, BYD's executive vice president, as quoted by Bloomberg in an October 7 story.

BYD will share all information requested by EU authorities to clear up any confusion about its production, she said.

Notably, on September 26, Bloomberg cited people familiar with the matter as saying that Tesla was among the companies found to have potentially benefited from Chinese subsidies during the EU's evidence-gathering process.

In another report on October 6, Bloomberg said the EU has asked BMW to provide information about the BMW iX3 cars it produces in its Chinese factories and exports to the outside world as part of the EU's investigation.

BYD doesn't worry about EU anti-subsidy probe, exec says