Elon Musk surprising anti-China rant
SPACEX and Tesla boss Elon Musk has gone on a Twitter tirade against President Trump over the pending tariffs, which would see foreign imports of steel and aluminium heavily taxed.
Tesla is under increasing pressure from rival electric vehicle manufacturers as the EV market heats up - and the pressure might just be getting to the innovative billionaire.
Musk, who was a member of President Trump's advisory council prior to leaving it in June 2017, asked the president whether the US and China should have the same rules for cars, delving into international trade policy at a time when it has become a touchy subject for many domestic corporations.
"Do you think the US and China should have equal and fair rules for cars?" Musk wrote. "Meaning, same import duties, ownership constraints and other factors."
Musk added that American companies that ship their cars to China pay a significantly larger import duty than Chinese cars that come to the US.
"For example, an American car going to China pays 25 per cent import duty, but a Chinese car coming to the US only pays 2.5 per cent, a tenfold difference," Musk tweeted.
He also said that American companies that set up factories in China effectively have to have a joint-venture with Chinese counterparts, allowing them to own no more than 50 per cent of the factory in China.
"Also, no US auto company is allowed to own even 50 per cent of their own factory in China, but there are five 100 per cent China-owned EV auto companies in the US," Musk wrote.
He noted that he is generally for free trade, but highlighted the fact the current regulations make it difficult. He likened it to "competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes".
Musk, 46, said in his tweetstorm that he had raised the issue with the Obama administration, but nothing was ever resolved.
"We raised this with the prior administration and nothing happened," Musk wrote.
President Trump has come under fire from both side of politics and countries around the world for his announcement on tariffs last week, which would see foreign-made steel imports be taxed at 25 per cent and aluminium be taxed at 10 per cent.
Overnight Mr Trump hinted that Australia might be among countries exempt from the tariffs.