Clean Energy Canada | In considering tariffs on Chinese-made EVs, affordability for Canadians must top the agenda
June 24, 2024

OTTAWA — Joanna Kyriazis, director of public affairs at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement in response to the federal government’s launch of consultations on potential trade measures for electric vehicles imported from China:

“Today’s announcement that Canada is considering following the U.S. and EU on imposing tariffs on Chinese-made EVs to protect Canadian workers and electric vehicle battery supply chains also has potential ramifications for Canadian consumers, trade relations, and climate goals. 

“The federal government must navigate a tricky situation carefully, looking out for not only the auto industry’s interests—but Canadians enduring an affordability and climate crisis. 

“Putting unjustified conditions on imports, without measures to mitigate the impact on consumers, could limit Canadian access to lower-cost EVs. Reducing competition not only means fewer models are available, it also removes market incentives for other automakers to build cheaper EVs, making it harder for Canadians to unlock the huge fuel and maintenance savings that come with going electric. In short, the federal government should support Canada’s EV industry without shielding it from competition that would benefit consumers.

“It’s important to mention that all EVs produce less carbon over their lifetime than gas cars, regardless of their country of origin. Any policy that unreasonably slows the rate of EV adoption also slows climate progress.

“Finally, China has been instrumental in driving down the costs of clean technologies to date—EVs included. The cost of batteries has dropped by 90% over the last decade, in large part thanks to the Chinese battery industry’s massive scale-up. Excluding the world’s largest manufacturing hub from our auto market at such a crucial moment in the energy transition is not something that should be taken lightly.

“Canada is in a difficult position between two economic giants—the U.S. and China are our two biggest trading partners—but we believe a sweet spot can and must be found. Any Canadian trade measures must be in line with international trade rules, and it is vital that the interests of affordability-constrained Canadians are not lost in this discussion.

“We look forward to working with the federal government on a measured response that makes sense for Canadians, automakers, and our climate.”


  • A recent report from Clean Energy Canada comparing popular EV models with their gas equivalents finds that going electric can save a typical Canadian driver $3,800 annually. 
  • Transportation makes up 24% of emissions in Canada, and passenger vehicles make up around half of that.
  • BloombergNEF recently modelled EV lifecycle emissions from manufacturing and use in China, Germany, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. In any of these markets, it found the lifecycle CO2 emissions of a medium-sized BEV manufactured today and driven for 250,000 kilometers (155,000 miles) would be 27% to 71% lower than those of equivalent ICE vehicles. The grid on which an EV is charged has a far bigger impact on its lifecycle emissions than its country of manufacture.
  • EV sales in Canada continue to break records, with the latest year end Statistics Canada results revealing a 12% electric market share across the country. 
  • Trade between China and Canada hit record levels in 2022, with imports breaking the $100-billion mark for the first time.


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