Elon Musk has said he opposes US tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles

image source, Good pictures

image caption, Mr Musk has previously warned that Chinese carmakers would “crush” rivals if there were no trade barriers.

  • author, Peter Hoskins
  • stock, Business Correspondent

Tesla boss Elon Musk says he opposes US tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), days after President Joe Biden quadrupled tariffs on EVs imported from China.

“Neither Tesla nor I asked for these charges,” the multi-billionaire told a technology conference in Paris via video link.

Mr Musk’s comments contradicted his warning in January that Chinese carmakers would “crush” rivals from other countries if there were no trade barriers.

Last week, the White House said the new measures, including 100% tariffs on EVs from China, were a response to unfair policies and intended to protect American jobs.

“Honestly, I was surprised when they were announced. Things that prevent freedom of exchange or distort the market are not good,” Mr Musk said on Thursday.

“Tesla is competing well in the China market with no tariffs and no subsidies. I’m in favor of any tariffs,” he added.

Mr Biden has maintained many of the tariffs introduced by his predecessor, Donald Trump, while increasing trade pressure on Beijing.

Last week, Mr Biden vowed not to allow China to “unfairly control the market” for electric vehicles and other key goods, including batteries, computer chips and basic medical supplies.

China has said it opposes the tariff hike and will take retaliatory measures.

The Commerce Ministry’s announcement that it would investigate imports of polyoxymethylene copolymer, used in electronics and cars, was seen as a signal that China would back off in trade disputes with the United States and Europe.

This week, China signaled it could hit cars with large engines imported from the EU and the US with a 25% tariff.

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce for the European Union said it had been told of the potential move by calling it “in”.

The European Commission (EC), which oversees the European Union’s trade policies, has given a July 4 deadline to decide whether to impose measures against imports of Chinese-made EVs.

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