“China has made boosting clean tech innovation and manufacturing a key priority in its five-year plan. It dominates global production in sectors like electric vehicles or solar panels, which are essential for the transition”, said von der Leyen.
“But competition on net-zero must be based on a level playing field. China has been openly encouraging energy-intensive companies in Europe and elsewhere to relocate all or part of their production”, she said.
The Commission President warned that while Beijing promises low labor costs and cheap energy, it heavily subsidizes its industry and restricts access to its market for EU companies.
Nevertheless, von der Leyen added that Europe will still need to work and trade with China, but the priority must be on “de-risking rather than decoupling.
“This means using all our tools to deal with unfair practices – including the new Foreign Subsidies Regulation. We will not hesitate to open investigations if we consider that our procurement or other markets are being distorted by such subsidies,” she said.
In a tweet, the President said, "the road to net-zero will be the greatest transformation of our times. Europe has what it takes – talent, researchers, industrial capacity".