Musk invites Trump to pressure China over auto trade practices


Musk, left, attended a meeting with Trump at the White House last year. Photo credit: Bloomberg

SAN FRANCISCO — Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk, battling Chinese government officials over the terms of getting a plant built in the country, may be trying to tempt Donald Trump into calling out the nation’s automotive trade protections.

“Do you think the US & China should have equal & fair rules for cars?” Musk wrote Thursday in response to a post by the president a day earlier. He noted China charges 25 percent import duties on cars, ten times the U.S.’s levy of 2.5 percent. “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.”

Tesla has been trying for months to get a deal done with Shanghai’s government since disclosing in June that it was in negotiations to assemble cars there. An agreement hasn’t been finalized because the two sides disagree on the ownership structure for a proposed factory, people with direct knowledge of the situation told Bloomberg News in February.

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