China trade like competing in 'Olympic race wearing lead shoes': Musk

Elon Musk sides with Trump on China trade

Hours before Donald Trump signed orders imposing stiff new tariffs on imported steel and aluminium, Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted a series of tweets directed at the US President asking for "equal and fair rules for cars" when it comes to the US and China.

Musk gave an example of this noting that a vehicle produced in the United States and imported into China pays a 25 percent import tax but that China only pays a 2.5 percent import tax when sending their cars to the U.S.

'I am against import duties in general, but the current rules make things very hard.

Musk had on Thursday morning suggested on Twitter that drastic differences between the USA and China in the size of tariffs on auto imports mean American vehicle manufacturers are "competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes".

"We raised this with the prior administration and nothing happened", he added.

"Just want a fair outcome, ideally where tariffs/rules are equally moderate", Musk tweeted.

"Hope this does not seem unreasonable", he tweeted in conclusion.

President Trump cites Tesla CEO Elon Musk's tweet to the president over having unfair trade policies with China.

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Trump then went on to announce unspecified plans for upcoming "reciprocal taxes or "mirror taxes," again direcly addressing Musk's issue of disparity between US tariffs and those imposed by other countries". "We just want fairness".

But last month, Trump tweeted his congratulations to Musk following a successful launch by Space Exploration Technologies Corp, another one of Musk's companies.

In 2016, Tesla sold $1 billion of electric cars in China, the company reported.

No word on whether Trump responded to Musk via Twitter's direct message feature.

China, the world´s largest auto market, has required foreign automakers to build factories in 50-50 joint ventures with domestic Chinese automakers and not allowed them to establish wholly owned factories.

CNBC notes that the Tesla electric semis pictured leaving the Gigafactory both have side-view mirrors, which is different than the prototype that was unveiled late previous year.

Import duties and the difficulties Tesla has had avoiding them by trying to produce in China has held the company back in the world's biggest market for cleaner cars.

China levies a 25 percent duty on sales of imported vehicles. "They send their auto over here, 2.5%". Musk wrote. "Meaning, same import duties, ownership constraints & other factors". He also complained United States automakers couldn't own a majority share of their factories in China, while five Chinese electric vehicle companies held full ownership of their factories in the US. Musk previously served on Trump's advisory council.

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