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Why Beijing’s plan to stop producing petrol and diesel cars could be a game-changer for the industry?

China is working on a timetable to stop production and sales of fossil-fuel vehicles as it races to develop new-energy vehicles and clear the country’s polluted skies, a senior Chinese industry official said on Saturday.

Addressing a car forum in Tianjin, Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said China was considering following in the footsteps of some European countries to phase out fossil-fuel cars.

“Many countries have adjusted development strategies … Some countries have worked out a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional-fuel vehicles,” Xin said.

“Now the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has launched a study as well, and will work with related departments on a timetable for our country”.

The Netherlands and Norway have already set targets to ban fossil-fuel cars by 2025, with sales after that deadline limited to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

France also said on July 6 that it would ban sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 to reduce air pollution and become a carbon-neutral country by 2050. Britain made a similar announcement two weeks later.

New-energy vehicles and batteries are key parts of Beijing’s plans to turn China into a hi-tech powerhouse in the next few decades. The National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top planning agency, has also said it will not approve any new fossil-fuel car projects.

Xin did not say when China would make the final decision on the plan.

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Disclaimer: Statements in this article should not be considered investment advice, which is best sought directly from a qualified professional.