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EU should follow U.S. on tariffs over Chinese goods, Italy minister says

An attendant walks past EU and China flags ahead of the EU-China High-level Economic Dialogue in Beijing

TRENTO, Italy (Reuters) - The European Union should follow the example of the United States and protect its industry by imposing tariffs on Chinese products, Italian Industry Minister Adolfo Urso said on Saturday.

U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled steep tariff increases this month on an array of Chinese imports including electric vehicle (EV) batteries, computer chips and medical products.

Biden will keep tariffs put in place by his Republican predecessor Donald Trump while ratcheting up others, including a quadrupling of duties on electric vehicles to over 100% and doubling the duties on semiconductor tariffs to 50%.

"Much higher tariffs against Chinese products are inevitable if we do not want the European industry to be wiped out," said Urso, who is a member of right-wing party Brothers of Italy, speaking at a business conference.

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Speaking about the automotive sector in particular, Urso said that the steep increase in U.S. tariffs could result in China steering its exports toward Europe, harming the bloc's industry.

Urso called for a stronger industrial policy by the European Union as the bloc approaches European Parliament elections next month.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini)