Originally Published: April 23, 2018 6:04 a.m.
BEIJING — The biggest global auto show of the year showcases China’s ambitions to become a leader in electric cars and the industry’s multibillion-dollar scramble to roll out models that appeal to price-conscious but demanding Chinese drivers.
Auto China 2018, which opens this week, follows Beijing’s decision to allow full foreign ownership of Chinese automakers in a move to make the industry more flexible as it promotes electrics.
The ruling Communist Party has transformed China into the biggest market for electrics with billions of dollars in subsidies to producers and buyers. Now, Beijing is winding down that support and shifting the financial burden to automakers with sales quotas that push them to develop models Chinese drivers want to buy. That is reflected in the auto show lineup: Global and Chinese brands including General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Co. plan to display dozens of electrics and hybrids, from luxurious SUVs to compacts priced as low as 152,000 yuan ($24,000).
Communist leaders see electric cars as both a way to clean up smog-choked cities and a key ingredient in plans to transform China into a global competitor in an array of technology fields from robotics to solar power to biotech.
Mnuchin expresses optimism trade standoffs can be resolved
WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank repeatedly warned at their meetings this week that intensifying trade tensions could jeopardize a healthy global economic expansion.
But U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed cautious optimism Saturday that countries could settle their differences without a trade war.
Mnuchin met during the past three days with financial officials from China, Japan and Europe over a series of punitive tariffs unveiled by the Trump administration against China and other trading partners.
In a session with reporters, Mnuchin refused to say how close the United States was to resolving the various trade disputes, but he did say progress had been made.
The United States and China are on the brink of what would be the biggest trade dispute since World War II. Each has proposed imposing tariffs of $50 billion on each other’s products; President Donald Trump is looking to impose tariffs up to $100 billion more on Chinese goods.