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European leaders discuss migration, Ukraine at UK summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was a key guest at the meeting, aimed at shoring up Europe’s support for his country’s defense…reports Asian Lite News

Leaders from across Europe expressed support for Ukraine and concern about the direction of the United States on Thursday at a security-focused summit clouded by worries about whether the U.S. will remain a reliable ally if Donald Trump wins a second presidency.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer welcomed around 45 heads of government to a grandiose English country mansion to discuss migration, energy security and the threat from Russia as he seeks to restore relations between the U.K. and its European Union neighbors four years after their acrimonious divorce.

The venue for the European Political Community summit, Blenheim Palace, was the birthplace of Britain’s World War II Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Starmer said the leaders were meeting “as a new storm gathers over our continent.”

“Our first task here today is to confirm our steadfast support for Ukraine, to unite once again behind those values that we cherish and to say we will face down aggression on this continent together,” Starmer said, adding that the threat from Russia “reaches right across Europe.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was a key guest at the meeting, aimed at shoring up Europe’s support for his country’s defense and discussing ways to defend democracy against cyberattacks, disinformation and sabotage that Ukraine’s allies blame on Moscow.

Zelenskyy is due to address a meeting of Starmer’s Cabinet on Friday, a rarity for a foreign leader, as Starmer seeks to show that his Labour Party government will maintain the support to Kyiv begun under his Conservative predecessors.

Others making the trip to Blenheim Palace, a Baroque country mansion 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of London, included German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

A brainchild of Macron, the EPC was established in 2022 as a forum for countries both inside and outside the 27-nation EU after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine shattered Europe’s sense of security. The next three summits are due to be held in Hungary, Albania and Denmark.

Starmer’s center-left government aims to rebuild ties with the EU strained by years of ill-tempered wrangling over Brexit divorce terms. A key priority is a new U.K.-EU security pact that Starmer hopes to strike soon.

“We are confident that a new chapter will be opened with the U.K.,” European Council President Charles Michel said as he arrived.

Starmer said that the U.K. plans to take a more active role on the world stage. He told fellow leaders that under his government, the U.K. would be “a friend and a partner, ready to work with you — not part of the European Union, but very much part of Europe.”

He promised “we will never withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights” — something the previous Conservative U.K. government had flirted with, to the alarm of the U.K.’s European allies.

The U.K. plans to work more closely with the European police agency Europol against people smuggling, part of measures to beef up border security following Starmer’s decision to scrap the Conservatives’ contentious and unrealized plan to send migrants arriving in the U.K. by boat on a one-way trip to Rwanda.

Starmer called the Rwanda plan a “gimmick” and urged European nations to cooperate against “the vile trade of people smuggling.”

“Let’s be frank — ‘challenge’ is the wrong word,” he said. “It is now, I think, a crisis. We must combine our resources, share intelligence, share tactics, shut down the smuggling routes and smash the gangs.”

Starmer and Macron met for dinner on Thursday evening, discussing what more can be done to stop thousands of migrants each year making hazardous journeys across the English Channel from France.

At the end of the daylong summit, Starmer said there had been broad agreement on “gripping the migration crisis,” but acknowledged it would take time.

“Two weeks ago today we were still knocking on doors asking people to vote for us. We can’t turn it around that quickly,” he told a news conference.

When Britain agreed earlier this year to hold the one-day summit, Conservative leader Rishi Sunak was prime minister. His defeat in a July 4 election meant that it was Starmer who welcomed leaders to Blenheim Palace — a key getting-to-know-you moment for him.

Delegates were treated to full British hospitality — including strawberries with cream and a reception hosted by King Charles III — and mingled informally in a “leaders’ lounge” and the palace’s ornate gardens.

Many thoughts strayed to the U.S., where the weekend assassination attempt on Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, underscored how febrile and polarized politics has become before the Nov. 5 election.

Trump’s skepticism about NATO has long worried U.S. allies. Trump’s choice of Sen. JD Vance, an opponent of U.S. military aid to Ukraine, as vice presidential running mate has heightened concerns.

“European countries must stand on their own legs more than ever,” Netherlands Prime Minister Dick Schoof said.

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UK to host 45 European leaders for EPC meet

A decision by his predecessor Rishi Sunak to call an early election means Starmer can use NATO and the EPC to advance early talks…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Keir Starmer will use his role as host of a European forum on Thursday to press his desire to reset Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the European Union and to reaffirm support for Ukraine.

Two weeks after winning a large majority in an election and fresh from his first international trip to NATO in Washington as prime minister, Starmer hosts the European Political Community (EPC) of more than 40 nations at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, to build cooperation on border security.

The one-day meeting of a group set up after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 provides Britain’s new leader another opportunity to push for closer defense cooperation especially before the possible election of Donald Trump who suggests that Europe must do more to protect its own security.

“We cannot let the challenges of the recent past define our relationships of the future. That is why European security will be at the forefront of this government’s foreign and defense priorities, and why I am focused on seizing this moment to renew our relationship with Europe,” Starmer said in a statement.

“The EPC will fire the starting gun on this government’s new approach to Europe, one that will not just benefit us now, but for generations to come.”

Starmer has been determined to reset EU ties after the 2016 vote to leave the bloc created years of rancour. He has said he does not see Britain rejoining the single market or customs union in his lifetime.

A decision by his predecessor Rishi Sunak to call an early election means Starmer can use NATO and the EPC to advance early talks.

Officials stress that the talks are very much in their infancy, and the ultimate goal of negotiating a security pact, covering a broad range of areas such as energy, supply chains, pandemics and migration will come much later in negotiations when the EU has been clear there will be no “cherry picking.”

But the EPC offers Starmer, flanked by foreign minister David Lammy and Nick Thomas-Symonds, his minister for EU relations, another chance to hold meetings in numbers it would normally take a new government months to set up.

In Washington, defense minister John Healey said the Labour team there had “met and talked with every one of the 32 member (NATO) nations, Ukraine of course … and the Indo Pacific four nations that are here as well.”

At Blenheim Palace, the leaders, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, are expected to not only express renewed support for Kyiv but also to discuss energy security, safeguarding democracy and migration.

Some critics say the EPC is little more than a talking shop, often offering no firm agreements, but others say its informal nature encourages wider conversations, which one German government source said strengthens “geopolitical cohesion between the EU and third countries in the region.”

A French official said London wanted the EPC to call for action against the Russian shadow fleet of tankers, which avoid sanctions, by closing the loopholes, while Moldova, which borders Ukraine, and France would work on cooperation to fight against foreign interference.

Starmer would take part in the migration working group and the Moldova Group to underline the country’s sovereignty and democracy in the face of Russian interference. He will also champion a move to deploy staff to a new rapid returns unit to take control of national borders.

But perhaps most important to Starmer is the development of personal relationships with other leaders, something he says is essential to the way he works to get the best results.

He hosted Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris at his country residence Chequers on Wednesday and will entertain French President Emmanuel Macron over dinner on Thursday. He will also have a number of bilateral meetings, including with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

“This meeting of European leaders is an opportunity to push on and begin delivering on the people’s priorities,” Starmer said.

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Europe’s tallest tower lit up in Indian colours

This visit marks Modi’s first trip to Russia since 2019 and his first since the Ukraine conflict began in February 2022…reports Asian Lite News

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi landing in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin, the Ostankino Tower in Moscow, the tallest free-standing structure in Europe, was illuminated with the colours of the Indian flag. This is PM Modi’s first trip to Russia since the onset of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Standing at 1,771 feet (540m), the Ostankino TV Tower is the world’s fourth tallest and Europe’s highest. It was erected in 1967 by the well-known Soviet engineer, Nikolai Nikitin.

Prime Minister Modi commenced his two-day visit focusing on bolstering bilateral ties in key sectors such as energy, trade, and defence. Upon his arrival at Vnukovo-II airport, PM Modi was greeted by Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov. Mr Manturov, who had previously welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit, accompanied PM Modi to his hotel.

“Landed in Moscow. Looking forward to further deepening the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between our nations, especially in futuristic areas of cooperation. Stronger ties between our nations will greatly benefit our people,” Modi posted on X.

This visit marks Modi’s first trip to Russia since 2019 and his first since the Ukraine conflict began in February 2022.

The Indian Prime Minister was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour at the airport and received a warm welcome from members of the Indian community and Russian artists outside The Carlton Hotel in Moscow.

“PM is set to hold substantive discussions with President Vladimir Putin to take forward the special partnership between the two countries. He will also interact with the Indian community in Russia,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said on ‘X’.

The focus of PM Modi’s summit with President Putin is likely to be on boosting bilateral cooperation in trade, defence and energy.

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EU slaps heavy tariffs on Chinese EV producers

The additional taxes will be imposed on China-made Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) starting July 5, Euro News reported on Thursday….reports Asian Lite News

The European Commission (EC), in a bid to counter China’s attempts to capture the European markets, imposed additional tariffs to maintain healthy competition in the EU’s electric vehicle market.

The additional taxes will be imposed on China-made Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) starting July 5, Euro News reported on Thursday.

The decision to impose the taxes was taken after an extensive nine-month investigation conducted by the EC, which concluded, “The EV value chain in China benefits from unfair subsidisation, which is causing a threat of economic injury to EU BEV producers.”

Additionally, the investigation also examined possible consequences and impacts of the measures on importers, users, and consumers of BEVs in the EU.

“Public money was detected everywhere, from the mining of raw materials needed to churn out batteries to the shipping services employed to bring the finished products to Europe’s shores,” Euro News quoted a European Commission official as saying.

The report also mentioned that the huge scale of subsidies allowed by the Chinese authorities to their BEV manufacturers enables them to sell their Chinese EVs at significantly lower prices compared to EVs made in Europe.

The European news organization claimed that these lower prices have triggered significant differences in the market share of China-supplied BEVs, with the difference being noticeable from 3.9 per cent in 2020 to 25 per cent in 2023, data released by the EC stated.

This cost difference in BEVs from both regions poses a threat to the EU economy, affecting approximately 12 million jobs directly and indirectly, causing major losses to European countries. Quoting the EC statement, the Euro News report stated that the taxes will be imposed on top of the existing 10 percent tax rates for EVs in the EU.

The EU imposed these taxes based on the parent company, annual turnover, and suspected amount of subsidies received by China.

According to the EC report quoted by Euro News, the EU has imposed a 17.4 per cent duty on vehicles by BYD, 19.9 per cent on vehicles by Geely, and 37.6 per cent on vehicles made by SAIC.

The EC report further mentioned that other BEV producers in China, which cooperated in the investigation but have not been sampled, would be subject to a weighted average duty of 21 per cent. All other BEV producers in China which did not cooperate in the investigation would be subject to a residual duty of 38.1 per cent. (ANI)

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US military raises alert to second-highest for Europe bases

The highest alert level, “Delta,” is applied when a terrorist attack has occurred or is imminent….reports Asian Lite News

The US military has raised the alert level of several bases in Europe to its second-highest level, “Charlie,” according to reports from ABC News and CNN on Sunday, citing unnamed officials. This level indicates that an incident or intelligence suggests a likely terrorist action or targeting against personnel or facilities.

The highest alert level, “Delta,” is applied when a terrorist attack has occurred or is imminent.

When contacted, the US European Command (USEUCOM) did not confirm the status change but stated, “we remain vigilant.” The Pentagon noted that the heightened alert is due to multiple factors potentially affecting the safety of US service members and their families in Europe, emphasizing vigilance during the summer months.

The US State Department currently advises American citizens in Germany, where USEUCOM is headquartered, to exercise increased caution due to terrorism.

Although no specific threat has been identified, European nations have been on heightened alert since gunmen killed nearly 150 people outside Moscow in March, an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. Additionally, France has increased its alert level ahead of the Paris Olympics, and Germany is hosting an international football tournament, further contributing to the heightened security measures.

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India News

President lauds India-Middle East-Europe-Economic-Corridor

In her speech, the President said that global order is taking a new shape in this third decade of 21st century…reports Asian Lite News

Noting that India’s vision has given shape to the India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday said that the planned corridor will prove to be one of the biggest gamechangers of 21st century.

Addressing a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament today, President Murmu said that India has strengthened its relations with the neighbouring countries.

She said India is the first responder in any crisis due to its human-centric approach.

“Following the Neighbourhood First policy, India has strengthened its relations with the neighbouring countries. Leaders of seven neighbouring countries participated in the swearing-in ceremony of the Union Council of Ministers on June 9,” the President said.

“Whether it is East Asia or the Middle East and Europe, my government is giving a lot of importance to connectivity. The vision of India has started giving shape to the India-Middle East Economic Corridor. This corridor will be one of the biggest game changers of the 21st century,” she added.

India, the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union had signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor during the New Delhi G20 Summit held in September last year.

“We have worked on the IMEC, which is going to be a big game changer like the Silk Route was a game changer. There was a positive and proactive role of the Gulf countries. India got an opportunity to play a good role. The US and Europe were with us. And everyone thought that there would be a concrete, positive outcome. So we used to meet on that,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told in an interview earlier.

In her speech, the President said that global order is taking a new shape in this third decade of 21st century.

“Due to the efforts of my Government, Bharat is giving a new confidence to the world as a Vishwa-Bandhu. Due to its human-centric approach, India today is the first responder in any crisis and has become a strong voice of the Global South. India has been at the forefront in safeguarding humanity be it the Corona crisis or an earthquake or a war,” she said.

President Murmu said that India has united the world on many issues during its G20 presidency.

She said that the African Union was made the 27th member of the grouping under India’s Presidency, and noted that the move has strengthened the “trust of the African continent as well as the entire Global South.”

“How the world’s view of India has changed, we have all experienced this in the G7 Summit held in Italy. India has united the world on many issues during its G20 presidency. It is during India’s presidency that the African Union has been made the 27th member of G20. This has strengthened the trust of the African continent as well as the entire Global South,” the President said.

A breakthrough was achieved on the first day of the New Delhi Summit G20 Summit as there was consensus on”Ukraine paragraphs” with shift in position by some countries. The New Delhi Declaration was adopted unanimously. (ANI)

Oppn slams President’s address to Parliament

Opposition leaders slammed the government over the President’s address with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying not to accept the message of Lok Sabha polls “which was against him”.

He said people rejected PM Modi’s slogan of “400 paar” and kept BJP away from the majority mark of 272.

In his remarks on the President’s address, PM Modi said it was comprehensive and presented a roadmap of progress and good governance.

“It covered the strides India has been making and also the potential that lies ahead. Her address also mentioned some of the major challenges we have to collectively overcome to ensure a qualitative change in the lives of our citizens,” the Prime Minister said in a post on ‘X’.

In her speech, the President said about 64 crore voters performed their duty with enthusiasm and zeal in the Lok Sabha polls and EVM has passed every test, from the Supreme Court to the people’s court, in the last few decades.

“Women cast their votes in huge numbers this time also. A very heartening aspect of this election emerged from Jammu and Kashmir. The Kashmir Valley broke all records of voter turnout of many decades. In the last four decades, we had witnessed low voter turnout amidst shutdowns and strikes in Kashmir. Enemies of India continued to spread false propaganda at global forums, projecting it as an opinion of Jammu and Kashmir. But this time the Kashmir Valley has given a befitting reply to every such element within the country and outside,” she said.

The President said the whole world is talking about the Lok Sabha elections.

“The world is witnessing that the people of India have elected a stable Government with clear majority, consecutively for the third term. This has happened after six decades. At a time when the aspirations of people of India are at their highest ever, people have reposed faith in my Government for the third consecutive term. The people of India have full faith that only my Government can fulfil their aspirations,” she said.

“Therefore, this election of 2024 has been an election of trust in policy, intention, dedication and decisions – trust in a strong and decisive government, trust in good governance, stability and continuity, trust in honesty and hard work, trust in security and prosperity, trust in government’s guarantees and delivery, trust in India’s resolve to be Viksit Bharat…

“It is a stamp of approval for my Government’s mission of service and good governance undertaken in the past 10 years. It is a mandate that the work of making India a developed nation continues uninterrupted and India attains its goals,” she added.

The President said along with major economic and social decisions, many historic steps will also be seen in the budget likely to be presented during the monsoon session of parliament.

“The pace of reforms will be further accelerated in tune with the aspirations of people of India for rapid development. My Government believes that there should be healthy competition among the states to attract investors from all over the world. This is the true spirit of competitive cooperative federalism. We will continue to move ahead with the belief that the development of the country lies in the development of the states,” she said.

She said India is the fastest growing economy in the world and in 10 years, the country has risen to become the fifth largest economy from being the 11th ranked economy.

“From 2021 to 2024, India has grown at an average rate of 8 percent annually. And this growth has not been achieved under usual circumstances. This has been made possible due to reforms and major decisions undertaken in the national interest in the last 10 years. Today, India alone is contributing 15 percent of the global growth. The government is striving to make India the 3rd largest economy in the world. Achieving this goal will also strengthen the foundation of a developed India.” She said along with the traditional sectors, sunrise sectors are also being promoted in mission mode and the government is also making continuous efforts to reduce the cost of logistics.

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EU sanctions 19 Chinese firms over links to Russian war effort

China denies Western accusations that it is supporting Russia’s military campaign….reports Asian Lite News

The European Union Monday imposed sanctions on 19 Chinese companies aimed at punishing what the West believes is Beijing’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

A list published in the EU’s Official Journal includes several companies located in Hong Kong as well as two global satellite giants.

The 14th package of sanctions against Russia added 61 new companies to the list of entities accused of directly “supporting Russia’s military-industrial complex” in the war in Ukraine, bringing the total to 675 firms.

These companies are now subject to drastic restrictions over sales of “dual-use goods and technology” that could be used for the “enhancement of Russia’s defense and security sector.”

China denies Western accusations that it is supporting Russia’s military campaign.

Among the newly added companies are two major players in the Chinese satellite industry involved in the sale of satellites and satellite imagery to Russia’s Wagner mercenary group.

In October, an investigation revealed that Wagner in 2022 signed a contract worth more than $30 million with Chinese firm Beijing Yunze Technology Co. Ltd. to acquire two satellites and use their images.

The contract was signed in November 2022, over half a year into Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in which the Wagner group under its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin was playing a key role on the battlefield.

The two high-resolution satellites belonged to Chang Guang Satellite Technology, a leading global satellite company which was the unit to be added to the EU’s sanctions list.

Another company named Monday was Head Aerospace Technology, which sells satellite images and was placed on a US sanctions list in 2023 for supplying the Wagner Group.

Even if China does not deliver weapons directly to Russia, the United States and Europe accuse it of selling components and equipment to Moscow’s military industry.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lin Jian has dismissed the claims as “false information.” Russian-based companies make up about half of the 61 entities added to the EU’s list Monday.

In addition to the 19 Chinese companies, it also added nine from Turkiye, two in Kyrgyzstan, one in India, one in Kazakhstan, and one in the United Arab Emirates.

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EU Agrees on New Russia Sanctions

The EU punitive measures are intended, in particular, to prevent Russia from obtaining Western technology…reports Asian Lite News

EU member states have agreed to a new package of sanctions on Russia, aimed largely at cracking down on loopholes that circumvent existing measures, the Belgian EU presidency announced on Thursday.

“This package provides new targeted measures and maximises the impact of existing sanctions by closing loopholes,” the Belgian presidency posted on X.

Since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has targeted the Russian economy, institutions, and officials linked to the war with multiple rounds of sanctions.

As the invasion drags on, Russia has worked hard to circumvent the punitive measures, to secure more resources for their military and to keep their economy running.

At the same time, the EU and other Western countries, including the US, are concerned loopholes in the sanctions undermine compliance from companies doing business with Russia.

The EU punitive measures are intended, in particular, to prevent Russia from obtaining Western technology that the defence industry can use to manufacture weapons for the war in Ukraine.

Approval of the latest – 14th – sanctions package was delayed by several days, as diplomats in Brussels cited German concerns over business regulation as the main reason why negotiations took so long to finalise.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz acknowledged at the weekend that Berlin was concerned such sanctions could potentially penalise Germany’s export-oriented firms.

EU countries pushing for decisive action on sanctions evasion, however, pointed to European Commission estimates that products worth millions of euros were still being delivered to Russia via subsidiaries of European companies, despite sanctions in place to stop this.

EU diplomats said a compromise was eventually reached, allowing measures halting exports to Russia to not apply to subsidiaries for the time being.

This so-called “No-Russia” clause requires EU companies to contractually prohibit the re-export of certain categories of sensitive goods to Russia, including goods related to aviation, jet fuel, and firearms.

EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday must formally adopt the sanctions for them to take effect.

EU diplomats said the latest package also contains plans to target Russia’s multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector for the first time.

Ports such as Zeebrugge in Belgium are to be banned from being used to ship Russian LNG to countries outside of the EU, according to diplomats.

Belgium chaired the negotiations on the new round of sanctions as the current holder of the rotating EU presidency.

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Modi Presents India’s Views At G7

PM Modi also thanked the people and government of Italy “for their warm hospitality”.

After attending the G7 meeting and holding multiple bilaterals during his day-long visit to Italy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday returned to Delhi. The PM said that he had a productive day after interacting with world leaders.

He posted on X, “Had a very productive day at the G7 Summit in Apulia. Interacted with world leaders and discussed various subjects.

“Together, we aim to create impactful solutions that benefit the global community and create a better world for future generations.”

PM Modi also thanked the people and government of Italy “for their warm hospitality”.

The Prime Minister also said, “An important G7 Summit, where I presented India’s perspective at the world stage.

Here are highlights,” and posted a video link to the important event. He held back-to-back bilaterals with French President Emmanuel Macron, British PM Rishi Sunak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Japanese PM Fumio Kishida.

He then attended the G7 Outreach Session on AI and Energy, Africa and the Mediterranean which was followed by interactions with several world leaders.

After the conclusion of the G7 Summit’s Outreach Session, PM Modi met with several world leaders, including US President Joe Biden.

He also interacted with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Jordan King Abdullah, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Pope Francis on Friday on the sidelines of the G7 summit and invited him to visit India.

The visit to Italy was Prime Minister Modi’s first overseas trip after assuming office for the third consecutive term, and also his fifth consecutive participation in the G7 Summit.

IN PICS: Modi at G7:

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EU to slap higher tariffs on Chinese EVs

The move, which Beijing officials have slammed as “protectionist,” comes less than a month after Washington quadrupled US tariffs …reports Asian Lite News

The European Commission is planning to impose increased duties of up to 38 per cent on imported Chinese electric vehicles from July, escalating a trade dispute that Brussels sees as part of an effort to protect EU-bloc manufacturers, the Voice of America (VOA) reported.

The move, which Beijing officials have slammed as “protectionist,” comes less than a month after Washington quadrupled US tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles to 100 per cent.

The EU’s executive branch said its decision to nearly quadruple duties from the current level of 10 per cent follows several probes — some ongoing — into whether Chinese green technology producers are dumping government-subsidized goods on EU markets, giving Chinese automakers particularly an unfair advantage, as reported by Voice of America.

EU officials also said the new tariffs, slated to kick in after dispute-resolution talks conclude on July 4, are provisional and contingent upon findings of an EU probe into Chinese manufacturing subsidies that will be completed on November 2. Following that, definitive duties, typically enforced for a minimum of five years, could apply.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian, in a press briefing on Wednesday, called the anti-subsidy investigation “a typical case of protectionism.” He also warned that the measures disrupt automobile supply chains and would eventually hurt Europe’s own interests.

In a statement posted on its official website, Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson He Yadong said that the tariffs are devoid of “factual and legal basis” and that they constitute a “weaponizing” of “economic and trade issues.”

However, the European commissioners has defended the move, citing findings from an October 4 probe that found China’s electric-vehicle supply chain “benefits heavily from unfair subsidies…and that the influx of subsidized Chinese imports at artificially low prices therefore presents a threat of clearly foreseeable and imminent injury to EU industry,” the VOA reported.

Following the announcement, the shares of some of Europe’s largest manufacturers who sell in Chinese markets, including BMW dropped on Wednesday over fears of Chinese retaliation.

“The European Commission’s punitive tariffs hit German companies and their top products,” German Transport Minister Volker Wissing posted on X, largely echoing concerns expressed by officials at Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz, two of Germany’s notable carmakers.

“Cars must become cheaper through more competition, open markets and significantly better business conditions in the EU, not through trade war and market isolation,” the post added.

Chinese automakers, on the other hand, seemed less concerned of the move.

“The EU’s provisional tariffs come basically within our expectations, averaging around 20 per cent, which won’t have much of an impact on the majority of Chinese firms,” said Secretary General Cui Dongshu of the Chinese Passenger Car Association.

Steffen Hebestreit, a German government spokesperson, welcomed possible resolution through dispute talks.

The European Commission said that its probes aim to stop unfair competition and market distortion and that rates can be enforced on a company-by-company basis. Chinese manufacturers that have assisted with the EU probes face rates of 21 per cent, while uncooperative firms can expect to see a new rate of 38 per cent, the VOA reported.

Chinese-made wood flooring imports, medical devices, wind turbines, and solar panels have also been under investigation. (ANI)

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