MUNICH (Reuters) -Stellantis expects a major battle with Chinese rivals in the European market for electric vehicles and expects significant social consequences as a result, the group’s Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said on Wednesday.

Tavares said tariffs on Chinese vehicles imported to Europe and the United States are “a major trap for the countries that go on that path” and will not allow Western automakers to avoid restructuring to meet the challenge from lower cost Chinese manufacturers.

Tavares said that tariffs would only fuel inflation in the regions where they are imposed, potentially impacting sales and production.

“We are not talking about a Darwinian period, we are in it,” Tavares said at the Reuters Events Automotive Europe conference, adding the price battle with Asian rivals would be “very tough”.

The European Commission will unveil an initial decision on potential tariffs on Chinese EV imports on June 5, the United States has said it will impose 100% duties to bar shipment of Chinese EVs. China has been threatening counter tariffs.

“When you fight against the competition to absorb 30% of cost competitiveness edge in favour of the Chinese, there are social consequences. But the governments, the governments of Europe, they don’t want to face that reality right now.”

(Reporting by Joseph White and Christoph Steitz, Editing by Rachel More and Madeline Chambers)

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