China's commerce minister will travel to Europe in April for discussions about the European Commission's investigation into whether China's electric vehicle industry has benefited from unfair subsidies, four people briefed on the plan told Reuters.

Wang Wentao will visit France, a French government source and two other people with knowledge of the trip told Reuters. France's trade ministry and European Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The European Commission has begun an investigation to determine whether to impose tariffs on exports to protect European car makers. It is due to conclude by November, although the EU executive could impose provisional duties earlier.

China's Ministry of Commerce did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

The European Commission has said China's share of EVs sold in Europe could reach 15% of the market in 2025, based on their price discount compared with battery-powered cars made in Europe.

China has contested the claim that its EV industry has boomed because of subsidies and called the EU inquiry "protectionist". Analysts say factors, including China's dominance of the battery supply chain, innovation and cut-throat competition in a crowded domestic market have also reduced prices.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas in Paris, Zhang Yan in Shanghai and Anne Marie Roantree in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Gilles Guillaume, Mimosa Spencer and Michel Rose in Paris, Emmma Rumney in London, Julia Payne in Brussels and Giulio Piovaccari in Milan; writing by Kevin Krolicki; editing by Josephine Mason and Barbara Lewis)