China’s BYD signs $1bn deal for Turkey manufacturing plant

China’s leading electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, BYD, has signed a $1 billion (£780 million) agreement to establish a manufacturing plant in Turkey, marking a significant step in its global expansion strategy.

The plant, capable of producing up to 150,000 vehicles annually, is expected to create approximately 5,000 jobs and commence production by the end of 2026, according to Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

The agreement was formalised at an event in Istanbul attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and BYD’s chief executive, Wang Chuanfu. The event underscores the strategic importance of the deal amidst growing pressures on Chinese EV manufacturers in both the European Union (EU) and the United States.

BYD did not immediately respond to a request for further details on the deal.

This move comes as Chinese EV makers face increasing regulatory hurdles. Recently, the EU imposed additional tariffs on Chinese EVs to protect its motor industry, resulting in an extra 17.4% tariff on BYD vehicles imported from China, on top of the existing 10% import duty. By manufacturing in Turkey, part of the EU’s Customs Union, BYD can circumvent these additional tariffs for vehicles exported to the EU.

The Turkish government has also implemented measures to support local car manufacturers, including a 40% tariff on imported Chinese vehicles. This supportive environment likely influenced BYD’s decision to invest in Turkey.

In the US, President Joe Biden has increased tariffs on Chinese-made electric cars, solar panels, steel, and other goods, including a 100% border tax on electric cars from China. These measures aim to counter what the White House describes as unfair trade practices and protect American jobs.

BYD, supported by US investor Warren Buffett, is the world’s second-largest EV manufacturer after Tesla. The company is rapidly expanding its international production footprint. Recently, BYD announced plans for a manufacturing plant in Hungary, its first passenger car factory in Europe, expected to create thousands of jobs.

On Thursday, BYD inaugurated an EV plant in Thailand, its first factory in Southeast Asia, with an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles and projected to generate 10,000 jobs. Additionally, BYD has announced plans to build a manufacturing facility in Mexico.

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