President Donald Trump has one notable new critic when it comes to trade policy: Tesla Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk.
Musk fired off a series of tweets on Thursday, March 8, directly at Trump regarding his proposal of hearty tariffs on imports into the U.S.
Musk wrote to the president that he is against import duties, but that right now electric carmakers such as Tesla are essentially "competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes."
Do you think the US & China should have equal & fair rules for cars? Meaning, same import duties, ownership constraints & other factors.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2018
For example, an American car going to China pays 25% import duty, but a Chinese car coming to the US only pays 2.5%, a tenfold difference— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2018
Also, no US auto company is allowed to own even 50% of their own factory in China, but there are five 100% China-owned EV auto companies in the US— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2018
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.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2018
We raised this with the prior administration and nothing happened. Just want a fair outcome, ideally where tariffs/rules are equally moderate. Nothing more. Hope this does not seem unreasonable.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2018
Investors were waiting Thursday for more details regarding Trump's plans for tariff imposition of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. Reports surfaced earlier in the day that the president might exempt some countries from the trade tariffs at least temporarily.
President Trump is expected to make an announcement on steel and aluminum tariffs at 3:30 p.m. EST Thursday.
As the CEO of a car manufacturer, Musk is positioned in an industry that relies heavily on steel and aluminum imports. About 55% of the average vehicle's weight is steel.