Elon Musk Makes Trump’s Case for Tariffs: No Level Playing Field with China

Elon Musk and President Donald Trump.
Peter Parks/AFP/Getty, Win McNamee/Getty

In a surprising turn of events, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken to social media to make a case for President Trumps recently proposed tariffs.

President Trump published a tweet yesterday stating that China was asked to develop a yearly plan for the One Billion Dollar reduction in their trade deficit with the United States. President Trump was well received during his visit to China earlier this year and notes this by saying that U.S. relations with China are very good and that he looked forward to seeing what ideas they came up with. But, President Trump urged that the United States must “act soon” to increase tariffs.

A surprising reply to President Trump came from billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who asked the President whether or not the United States and China should have equal rules relating to cars, specifically on import duties, ownership constraints, etc.

Musk gave an example of this noting that a car 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.

Musk further noted that U.S. companies are prohibited from owning a majority share of their Chinese production factories but that there are many Chinese owned automotive factories in the United States.

It’s not hard to figure out why Musk may be interested in tariffs relating to importing cars given that he’s the CEO of electric car manufacturer Tesla. What is surprising, however, is that Musk is openly speaking with President Trump via social media. Musk famously quit President Trump’s business advisory council after the President announced that the United States would be leaving the Paris climate agreement. Musk made a simple statement via Twitter at the time:

But it seems now that cooperating with President Trump may benefit Musks bottom line, he’s all for an open conversation. Whether the President will acknowledge Musk reaching out has yet to be seen.


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