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Published on September 25th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Tesla Sues Trump Administration Over China Tariffs

Ford, Volvo Cars and Mercedes-Benz have also filed similar lawsuits

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk who has made himself billions from U.S. government subsidies and the U.S. taxpayer is now suing the Trump administration and Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, over government-imposed tariffs on parts Tesla imports from China. 

Tesla uses custom-built hardware which is imported from China. These are Intel-powered infotainment-and-communications units and the self-driving Autopilot 3.0 ECU that analyses data coming from its cameras and sensors. This technology items are now standard in all new Model 3, S and X Tesla vehicles. Customers pay an additional USD8,000 for the software upgrade called FSD.

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Tesla has filed a lawsuit in the Court of International Trade in New York, demanding two lists of tariffs be voided. It wants refunds of the money it has paid, plus interest.

The tariffs imposed by the Trump administration are “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion,” Tesla said in its filing on Wednesday. Tesla is challenging List 3 tariffs which place 25 per cent duties on USD200 billion worth of imports from China and List 4 tariffs, which place 7.5 per cent charges on USD120 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The lists include hundreds of products, from electric parts to raw materials, but the lawsuit did not specify the goods Tesla had paid tariffs on, or how much the car company paid.


Elon Musk when speaking via a podcast also mentioned that the people of China are smart and hard working while at the same time saying that U.S. citizens are entitled and complacent.

He specifically called out both New York and California, states whose taxpayers have literally funded Tesla’s business with massive tax breaks amounting to billions. 

When asked about China as an electric vehicle (EV) strategy leader worldwide, Musk responded:  “China rocks in my opinion. The energy in China is great. People there – there’s like a lot of smart, hard working people. And they’re not entitled, they’re not complacent, whereas I see in the United States increasingly much more complacency and entitlement especially in places like the Bay Area, and L.A. and New York.”

He then compared the U.S. to losing sports teams: “When you’ve been winning for too long you sort of take things for granted. The United States, and especially like California and New York, you’ve been winning for too long. When you’ve been winning too long you take things for granted. So, just like some pro sports team they win a championship you know a bunch of times in a row, they get complacent and they start losing.”

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Tesla stock has fallen almost 13.7 per cent this week which is not the best news right after a rather negative ‘Battery Day’event from tesla. 

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