Elon Musk Slams Biden Administration Over 100% Tariffs On Chinese EV Imports: 'Things That...Distort The Market Are Not Good'

Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk on Thursday criticized the Biden administration’s recent hike in tariffs on EV imports from China, terming it a distortion of the market.

What Happened: "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," Musk said in his virtual address at Viva Technology in Paris, as quoted by The Guardian.

This marks a one-eighty from Musk’s previous take on trade barriers against China. During Tesla's fourth-quarter earnings call in January, the CEO said about Chinese EV makers, “Frankly, I think if there are not trade barriers established, they will pretty much demolish most other car companies in the world."

In the last quarter of 2023, Chinese EV maker BYD took over Tesla in battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales by selling 526,000 BEVs, surpassing Tesla's global delivery count of 485,000. Tesla, however, took back its crown as the global best-selling EV maker in the first quarter of 2024.

Why It Matters: Earlier this month, President Joe Biden hiked tariffs on an array of Chinese imports including EV batteries, steel and aluminum, and solar products. The government also imposed a 100% tariff on electric vehicles made in China, quadrupling it from the previous 25%.

Biden administration further implemented a 25% tariff on electric vehicle batteries from China and a 25% tariff on critical minerals that go into making these EV batteries.

"Because we’re not going to let China flood our market, making it impossible for American automakers — automobile — auto manufacturers to compete fairly," President Joe Biden said about the decision. "Folks, look, I’m determined that the future of the electric vehicles will be made in America by union workers. Period."

Check out more of Benzinga's Future Of Mobility coverage by following this link.

Read More: Lucid Stock Gains 3% Premarket After EV Maker Announces 6% Workforce Reduction, Cutting 400 Jobs To Lower Costs

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