Ohio senator advocates for permanent U.S. ban on Chinese EVs under Biden administration.

WASHINGTON — The chair of the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday urged President Joe Biden to block Chinese-made vehicles from the United States auto market, marking the strongest call yet for action against China’s automakers by a U.S. lawmaker.

“I implore you to take bold, aggressive action and to permanently ban EVs produced by Chinese companies or whatever subsidiaries they establish to conceal their origins,” Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, wrote on Thursday to Biden calling for “expeditious” action. “Chinese electric vehicles are an existential threat to the American auto industry.”

The White House did not immediately comment on Thursday.

In March, Biden said that China’s policies “could flood our market with its vehicles, posing risks to our national security” and that he would “not let that happen on my watch.”

Brown’s comments arguing for a permanent ban of Chinese EVs from the U.S. market are the strongest yet by any U.S. lawmaker on the issue. Others have called for steep tariffs to keep EVs out of the United States.

Last month, Brown and Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan — all from auto-producing states — called on Biden to drastically hike import tariffs on Chinese EVs to address national security risks. Concerns have also been raised by lawmakers and advocates that Chinese automakers could assemble low-cost vehicles in Mexico to allow them to qualify for U.S. EV tax credits.

Auto industry officials told Reuters in February that Biden is considering hiking tariffs on Chinese EVs and the letter is the latest in growing pressure on the White House to take further steps to prevent Chinese vehicle imports.

In March, the Commerce Department opened an investigation into whether Chinese vehicle imports pose national security risks and could impose restrictions due to concerns that “connected” car technology could put the data of Americans at risk.

“We are going as fast we can to identify the risks and take any actions we think are national security concerns,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Reuters last month. “If China is subsidizing the vehicles in a way that puts American workers at a disadvantage we have to do something about that.”

Two Republican senators have also proposed legislation seeking to hike tariffs on Chinese-made vehicles, though relatively few Chinese vehicles are imported into the United States.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately comment on Thursday but has previously rejected calls to hike tariffs, saying China’s automobile exports “reflect the high-quality development and strong innovation of China’s manufacturing industry.”

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in November urged U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to boost tariffs on Chinese vehicles.

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