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Tesla sues to overturn Trump administration tariffs on China

Tesla is suing the U.S. government and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for the Trump administration’s tariffs on items Tesla imports from China.

The electric car maker wants the court to declare two batches of Trump administrative fees null and void and reimburse Tesla for the fees it paid with interest, according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of International Trade.

The specific tariffs in question are known as List 3 and List 4. List 3 went into effect in 201

8 and currently imposes 25% tariffs on $ 200 billion of goods imported from China. List 4 went into effect in 2019 and currently consists of a 7.5% tariff on $ 120 billion of Chinese imports. Both lists contain hundreds of very specific items, ranging from raw materials to electronic components. The lawsuit did not describe which items Tesla paid the tariffs on, or how much it paid. Tesla and the U.S. sales representative did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The “imposition of the duties of List 3 and List 4 by the United States Trade Representative was arbitrary and capricious because USTR did not provide significant opportunities for comment, did not consider the relevant factors when making its decision and he failed to draw a rational connection between established facts and choices made, “Tesla’s lawyers said in Wednesday’s statement, which also named interim commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, as defendant.

Companies have had the option to request a waiver on specific items as part of the pricing process. Tesla asked for waivers in 2019 on artificial graphite, silicon oxide and custom-made welded blanks with door ring, and all three were granted with an expiration date in August 2020, according to the USTR website.

In 2019, U.S. trade officials rejected Tesla’s request for a 25 percent relief on the Model 3’s computer and car screen, arguing that the parties are using strategically important technologies for China’s national security programs. Tesla said the stakeholders are the “brains” of its autopilot system.

“The rate hike on this particular part causes Tesla financial damage, through cost increases and the impact on profitability,” Tesla wrote in its waiver request. “Due to the complexity of the Model 3 car computer and the challenging time required for Tesla’s exponential growth, Tesla is unable to find another manufacturer that meets our requirements.”

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