Tesla CEO Elon Musk flips stance on China tariffs

Tesla CEO Elon Musk flipped his stance on China tariffs during a conference on Thursday. In January, Musk said that measures would need to be taken so that Chinese automakers did not “demolish” global competitors.

Now, the Biden Administration is enforcing tariffs to prioritize U.S. manufacturing, and Musk believes they are the wrong step to take as he said things that limit a foreign country’s ability to do business in other regions are disadvantageous for the market.

At the Viva Technology Conference in Paris, Musk detailed his thoughts:

“Neither Tesla nor I asked for these tariffs; in fact, I was surprised when they were announced. Things that inhibit freedom of exchange or distort the market are not good. Tesla competes quite well in the market in China with no tariffs and no deferential support. I’m in favor of no tariffs.”

It is a major switch up from what Musk said just a few months ago in January, where he detailed a need for barriers that would protect domestic companies:

“If there are no trade barriers established, they will pretty much demolish most other car companies in the world.”

In mid-May, the Biden Adminsitration launched a new tariff program that would equate to a 100 percent rate on EVs, while other sectors were impacted less.

The Washington Post said in its report of the tariffs that the program would impact $18 billion in Chinese products and was being done “to protect American workers and businesses.”

White House to hike tariffs on Chinese EVs to fend off cheap imports

It is not the first time Musk has talked about tariff programs between the U.S. and China. In April 2018, he said that China’s plan to lower import tariffs was a “very important action” and would help to avoid “a trade war.”

The Trump Adminsitration in 2020 had aimed to impose tariffs on car parts, which Tesla challenged in court.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk flips stance on China tariffs: ‘Things that…distort the market are not good’


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