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“The market economy works best when you have clear and [the] same rules for all market participants, a level playing field,” Ola Kallenius, chief executive of Daimler, told the Financial Times.

German electric-vehicle subsidies are available to all buyers regardless of where the cars are made. Kallenius urged the US to follow suit and “let the market decide”.

The German car lobby, the VDA, has also criticised the plans.

“Unilaterally designed funding criteria contradict transatlantic co-operation, which we would do better to intensify rather than slow down,” said VDA president Hildegard Müller. “We now need joint co-ordinated efforts to achieve climate goals. New trade conflicts must be avoided.”

German manufacturers produced more than 742,000 cars in the US last year, according to the VDA, and employed more than 60,000 people. Volkswagen’s Audi and VW brands are among the top sellers of plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars in the country, as is BMW.

However, Audi does not have a US plant, while neither VW and BMW’s factories nor Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz plants are unionised.