Musk noted that China charges a 25 per cent import duty on cars, 10 times the 2.5 per cent levy the USA puts on China-built vehicles.
"Also, no US auto company is allowed to own even 50% of their own factory in China, but there are five 100% China-owned EV [electric vehicle] auto companies in the US", Musk wrote.
Through a series of messages on Twitter, Musk explained the existing imbalance in the import duties between American and Chinese automakers. However, actual production appears to still be a few years away as Tesla reportedly struggles to come to terms over the ownership of the factory.
"Eat Your Own Dog Food" is an aphorism referring to the Microsoft tradition of using its own software products, but it applies equally well to the first production cargo trip of Tesla's all-electric truck - which carried battery packs from Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada to its auto assembly plant in Fremont, Calif.
Musk said in his Twitter rant that he had raised the issue with the Obama administration, but nothing was ever resolved.
"Just want a fair outcome, ideally where tariffs/rules are equally moderate", Musk tweeted. "Nothing more. Hope this does not seem unreasonable", another tweet said.
The exchange occurred as the president put tariffs on some steel and aluminum imports.
"Very interesting, I saw a tweet just came in from Elon Musk, who is using our wonderful space facilities and did a great job three weeks ago... That's good. That's better than us paying for them", Trump said. Musk clarified that he meant "equal & fair rules" like "same import duties, ownership constraints and other factors". Sales of battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell-powered autos could surpass one million units this year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Trump's tariff announcement is thought to be limited to steel and aluminum, though there are scant details on specifics of the plan. "To me, that was more wonderful than watching the rocket go up, because I've never seen that before". Musk previously served on Trump's advisory council. Nobody has seen it before, where they're saving the boosters. "They landed so beautifully".