The CEO of Tesla Inc, Elon Musk asked U.S. President Donald Trump in a Thursday tweet to challenge China’s auto trade rules, which forbid foreign ownership of Chinese ventures and impose steep tariffs on imported cars.
Musk stated that he was “against import duties in general, but the current rules make things very difficult. It’s like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes.”
Tesla has been trying to start massive production of cars in China which is the world’s largest auto market but the Tesla CEO had no luck in the negotiations with local authorities because Musk wants to keep full control of any local venture.
“No U.S. auto company is allowed to own even 50 percent of their own factory in China, but there are five 100 percent China-owned EV (electric vehicle) auto companies in the U.S.,” Musk wrote in another tweet.
Tesla “raised this with the prior administration and nothing happened. Just want a fair outcome, ideally where tariffs/rules are equally moderate. Nothing more. Hope this does not seem unreasonable,” he said.
Meanwhile, Trump quoted one of Musk’s tweets in his statement on the new tariffs and said American automakers have not been treated fairly by trade rules around the world. But Trump announced steep tariffs only on steel and aluminum imports on Thursday.
Politicians “have known it for years and never did anything about it. It’s got to change,” Trump said, adding that the White House plans to impose “reciprocal tax” on other countries. “We’re changing things. We just want fairness.”
According to Reuters, Tesla has sought to build a factory in the Chinese financial capital of Shanghai, and last November Musk said he hoped the plant would be operating within three years. But Tesla and Chinese authorities have yet to announce an agreement.
China announced that it will look to lower import taxes for cars and carry out a pilot scheme to loosen foreign ownership rules for new fully-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.