As President Trump’s planned tariffs threaten to start a trade war, Elon Musk is asking the president to help him out on car trade rules with China.
Trump tweeted about trade negotiations with China yesterday, and the Tesla CEO on Thursday responded by asking for “equal & fair rules for cars” between China and the US.
“An American car going to China pays 25% import duty, but a Chinese car coming to the US only pays 2.5%, a tenfold difference,” Musk tweeted. “Also, no US auto company is allowed to own even 50% of their own factory in China, but there are five 100% China-owned EV auto companies in the US.”
He went on, “I am against import duties in general, but the current rules make things very difficult. It’s like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes.”
A spokesperson for Tesla declined to comment on this story.
Trump is apparently a big fan of Musk’s private space exploration company, SpaceX. “I don’t know if you saw last with Elon with the rocket boosters where they’re coming back down,” Trump says in a video published by CNBC. “To me, that was more amazing than watching the rocket go up because I’ve never seen that before.”
It’s unclear how much President Trump’s planned steel and aluminum tariffs could impact Tesla’s business. Tesla’s Model S, Model X, and Model 3 are all made with aluminum and steel, but where Tesla sources these materials is unknown.