Amid a series of tweets on Thursday, Musk - apparently frustrated by the Asian nation's import duties - compared China's trade policy to "competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes".
While it's the largest automobile market in the world, China isn't the easiest place for American auto companies to operate.
Tesla Inc.'s Elon Musk just engaged in a little lobbying-by-tweet after months of battling Chinese government officials over terms to build a factory in the country. "If someone can't afford a vehicle, they should go first", Musk said.
Trump quoted one of Musk's tweets in his announcement on new tariffs and said American automakers have not been treated fairly by trade rules around the world. An agreement hasn't been finalized because the two sides disagree on the ownership structure for a proposed factory. "Nothing more. Hope this does not seem unreasonable".More news: Giants to release Rodgers-Cromartie
While Trump's tariffs only apply to steel and aluminum, this could be expanded at some point in the future.
The Tesla chief executive officer served on two White House advisory councils before stepping down in June past year after the president announced he would pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, but last month, Trump tweeted his congratulations to Musk following a successful launch by Space Exploration Technologies Corp, another one of Musk's companies. A spokesman for The Boring Company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. "To be clear, I think a fair outcome for all is quite likely".
China requires overseas automakers to form joint ventures with local manufacturers in which the foreign companies are capped at 50 percent ownership.
China's levies on auto imports are a problem for the U.S. e-car pioneer, which wants to expand its presence in the country's growing electric vehicle market without compromising its independence or intellectual property.More news: Sam Nunberg appears before the special counsel
He added that "when China or another country charges us 50 percent tariffs - more than that in some cases - and we charge them nothing, that's not fair. Meaning, same import duties, ownership constraints & other factors", Musk tweeted in response to Trump's post about the China trade deal. The plans are so far unspecified, though Trump said "we're going to be doing a lot of that".
"That's from Elon, but everybody knows it", Trump said.
Musk has met with Trump on several occasions since his election in November 2016.More news: News of Trump-Kim meeting greeted with hope and caution
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