China on Thursday warned that looking into Chinese state subsidies for electric vehicles would have a “negative impact” on economic and trade ties between the bloc and Beijing.

The Chinese commerce ministry deemed the decision to launch the probe to have been motivated by a desire to protect European markets from competition.

“China believes the investigative measures proposed by the European Union are in reality to protect its own industry in the name of ‘fair competition’,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

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