Earlier this month, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk called into question the fairness of China’s automotive trade practice via a handful of tweets to President Donald Trump.
“Do you think the US [and] China should have equal [and] fair rules for cars? Meaning, same import duties, ownership constraints [and] other factors,” Musk asked. “For example, an American car going to China pays 25 [percent] import duty, but a Chinese car coming to the US only pays 2.5 [percent], a tenfold difference.”
While Trump used Musk’s Twitter outburst as proof of China’s trade imbalance with the United States, the media began to wonder if the Tesla CEO was having an unpleasant time negotiating with the nation. In 2017, the automaker appeared to be on the cusp of a deal to build a factory in Shanghai — allowing it to cut costs within the region by a third. Fortunately for the brand, Musk’s trade concerns haven’t derailed progress. The Shanghai government has confirmed its talks with Tesla are progressing well.
“Both sides will keep looking thoroughly at plans in China. Currently the details are still under discussion, once anything is confirmed we will announce it as quickly as possible,” Chinese officials said in statement to Reuters. “As Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said openly before, Tesla attaches great importance to its development and plans in China.”
Shanghai expressed the importance of shared electrification goals but made no direct reference to Musk’s issues with China’s trading policies. There’s also no news of which company Tesla will enter into a joint venture with in order to produce cars within the country. China requires foreign automakers to partner with established domestic firms if they want to assemble cars there — a matter, along with the tariffs, Elon Musk doesn’t seem particularly fond of.
“The current rules make things very difficult. It’s like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes,” Musk wrote. “China has already shown a willingness to open their markets and I believe they will do the right thing [in the end].”
[Image: Tesla Motors]