China to reduce auto tariffs after Trump criticism

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 20. On Tuesday, Xi said China will reduce tariffs on automobiles into the country. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

April 10 (UPI) — Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that his country will reduce tariffs on automobiles imported into the country.

Speaking at the Boao Economic Forum in China, Xi pledged to “significantly lower import tariffs” for vehicles and “significantly broaden market access” for foreign companies, the Washington Post reported.

“China does not seek a trade surplus,” Xi said. “We have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve greater balance of international payments under the current account.”

The announcement comes after President Donald Trump on Monday took aim at China’s 25 percent tariff on foreign cars, compared to the United States’ 2.5 percent tariff.

“When a car is sent to the United States from China, there is a Tariff to be paid of 2 1/2%,” Trump tweeted Monday. “When a car is sent to China from the United States, there is a Tariff to be paid of 25%. Does that sound like free or fair trade. No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE – going on for years!”

Xi didn’t mention Trump or the United States in his speech but advocated for solving trade disagreements with other countries through dialogue, according to CNN.

“We hope developed countries will stop imposing restrictions on normal and reasonable trade of hi-tech products and relax export controls on such trade with China,” he said.

The tariff difference between the United States and China was also criticized by Tesla founder Elon Musk, who said he’s “against import duties in general, but the current rules make things very difficult.”

“It’s like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes,” Musk said last month.

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