The levies on Chinese electric vehicles distort the car market, according to the Tesla boss Elon Musk © Getty Images / Chesnot / Contributor

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has denounced the US government’s newly announced tariffs on electric vehicles imported from China as “not good.”

Washington rolled out steep tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this month, quadrupling duties on EVs to over 100%. The new measures affect $18 billion in imported Chinese goods, according to officials.

“Things that inhibit freedom of exchange or distort the market are not good,” Musk stated at the Viva Technology conference in Paris on Thursday, Reuters reported.

“Neither Tesla nor I asked for these tariffs, in fact, I was surprised when they were announced,” he said, adding that “Tesla competes quite well in the market in China with no tariffs and no deferential support.”

Musk’s remarks come as a U-turn from his previous stance on the US trade barriers with China.

The Tesla boss said in January that trade tariffs were needed or China would “demolish most other car companies in the world.”

Although Tesla’s performance has been impacted by competition from Chinese producers, last month Tesla reclaimed its spot as the largest EV manufacturer in the world from its rival BYD based on first quarter sales.

US slaps steep tariffs on China US slaps steep tariffs on China

US officials have repeatedly labeled China as America’s top competitor, while tightening economic restrictions against the country. Tariffs on Chinese goods were hiked significantly under former President Donald Trump, who launched the first volley in a tit-for-tat trade war that began in 2018. A similarly hostile approach has continued under his successor, Joe Biden, who has pursued several policies aimed at the Chinese economy.

Beijing has warned that such measures violate the principles of fair competition and harm the stability of world trade.

This week, a Chinese trade group said Beijing was considering raising tariffs on some car imports to counter US and EU trade actions against Chinese-made EVs. (RT)