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Tesla’s China factory plans still a ‘shared goal,’ claims Shanghai officials

Tesla’s plans of establishing a China factory are progressing well, according to Shanghai officials. Despite reports of a disagreement about the planned facility’s ownership and Elon Musk’s recent statements on Twitter about fair rules for American car companies operating in China, officials from the Chinese metropolis asserted on Tuesday that talks between Tesla and China’s authorities are still on track.

According to officials from Shanghai in an emailed statement to Reuters, communication between the country’s representatives and the California-based electric car and energy company have always been positive. The officials even asserted that both Tesla and China still maintain a “shared goal” to push the development of the country’s new-energy vehicle market, comprised of electric cars and hybrid vehicles.

The officials, however, noted that the details of Tesla’s planned facility in China are still under discussion. Nevertheless, the Shanghai officials assured the publication that an announcement would immediately be released as soon as an agreement is reached.  

“Both sides will keep looking thoroughly at plans in China. Currently the details are still under discussion, once anything is confirmed we will announce it as quickly as possible. As Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said openly before, Tesla attaches great importance to its development and plans in China,” the Shanghai officials wrote.

As we noted in a previous report, Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently took to Twitter to address the discrepancy in rules governing Chinese auto manufacturers operating in the United States and American car companies operating in China. Citing the Asian country’s ownership rules — which require a foreign automaker to partner with a local firm — as well as the massive import taxes faced by American cars entering China, Elon Musk stated that competing in the Chinese car industry is akin to racing with heavy shoes.

“No US auto company is allowed to own even 50% of their own factory in China, but there are five 100% China-owned EV auto companies in the US. I am against import duties in general, but the current rules make things very difficult. It’s like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes.”

Prior to Musk’s recent statements on Twitter, reports recently emerged stating that Tesla and Chinese regulators are in disagreement about the ownership of a planned factory in the country. The facility, which is set to be built in Shanghai, is widely believed to be the site where Tesla’s crossover SUV — the Model Y — as well as some of the Model 3, would be built.

With a facility in China, Tesla would be able to hit two birds with one stone. For one, it would be able to tap into the country’s strong workforce, which would likely aid the Elon Musk-led firm in producing more vehicles than before. Apart from this, having a facility in China would also allow Tesla to dodge the steep 25% import tax that the Asian nation places on imported vehicles, such as the current-generation Model S and X. Without extra taxes, Tesla’s vehicles could stand on even ground with local competitors, which have so far dominated electric car sales in China.

Tesla’s China factory plans still a ‘shared goal,’ claims Shanghai officials
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