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Elon Musk Is Unexpected Ally to Donald Trump on a Key Tesla Issue

President Donald Trump’s recent call for major new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports has proven almost universally unpopular, with the stock market, American allies, establishment Republicans, and even his newly former chief economist all coming out in opposition.

But the president may have one major ally in his calls for greater economic protectionism, particularly in the context of Trump’s push to reduce China’s trade deficit with the United States by a billion dollars. Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter Thursday to ask Trump his thoughts on the two countries’ divergent rules on car import and ownership rules.

“Do you think the US and China should have equal and fair rules for cars?” Musk tweeted in reply to Trump’s latest latest call for action. “Meaning, same import duties, ownership constraints, and other factors.”

By Musk’s reckoning, the currently unfair and unequal rules include a massive difference in the import duty on cars shipped between the two countries. An American-made car — like, say, a Tesla — will have to pay a 25 percent tariff when shipped to China, but a Chinese car delivered to the United States only requires a 2.5 percent tariff.

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Musk said he’s not necessarily looking for the kind of America-first protectionism that Trump’s trade policy advocates, but rather for greater fairness in how the two countries treat each other’s car imports.

Musk said this issue had previously been discussed — whether by Tesla specifically or American automakers in general isn’t clear — during Barack Obama’s presidency, with no results. Beyond the far greater cost of exporting American cars to China, Musk also pointed to the very different rules in factory ownership.

Tesla would not be able to own a controlling interest of a hypothetical Chinese Tesla plant, whereas there are already five fully Chinese-owned electric vehicle companies operating in the United States by Musk’s reckoning. For instance, the Shanghai-based SAIC Motor opened a North American operations center in Michigan back in 2012.

“I am against import duties in general, but the current rules make things very difficult,” Musk concluded. “It’s like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes.”

Musk has long been uncomfortable speaking publicly on social or economics topics that he frames as strictly political issues, which is part of the reason his short-lived tenure on Trump’s American Manufacturing Council was such obvious public torture for the Tesla CEO.

But Musk unsurprisingly tends to be more forthcoming on policy matters that directly affect his companies, and the prospect of Trump radically changing the nature of America and China’s trade relations could mean big things for Tesla and its cars. If that means speaking the president’s language — a string of indignant tweets, in this case — then so be it.

Media via YouTube 

Google Stadia: Price, Release Date, Features, Titles for the Streaming Service

A glimpse at the future of gaming.

Stadia, Google’s long-awaited cloud gaming service, was finally unveiled at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco on Tuesday. In one fell swoop, Stadia, once known as Project Stream, laid out a plan to take on console giants— like Sony and Microsoft — the PC-gaming industry, and even the live streaming platform, Twitch.

New AirPods 2019: Release Date, Price, and Features for Apple's Half-Update

Apple delivers on anticipated upgrades.

New AirPods completed Apple’s gadget-drop hat trick and there might be even more to come. The Cupertino-based company’s sprint of daily product drops continued with an update to the widely popular AirPods. The new AirPods followed announcements of two new iPads and a line of new iMacs.

It’s unlikely that this is indeed the AirPods 2 redesign that’s long been rumored. But in the meanwhile, Apple has delivered on a handful of new features that have long been predicted by analysts and wished for by fans. Better battery life, voice assistant improvements, and a wireless charging case have all been introduced to the AirPods, though there have been essentially no aesthetic changes at all.

Google Stadia Price: How Streaming Service Could Beat xCloud and PS Now

The service faces tough competition.

Google is joining a tough market. The world’s largest search engine announced on Tuesday plans to enter video games with Stadia, a streaming platform designed to eliminate the need for expensive hardware. While Google has removed one payment from the gaming equation, details about any further payments were notably missing from the presentation.

Apple Announcement 2019: AirPods, iPods, and AirPower Coming This Week?

Apple may be about to launch even more products.

Apple has had a bumper week of product launches so far, and it could continue the momentum by making even more surprise announcements. In a week that saw the release of two new iPad models on Monday and new versions of the iMac Tuesday, talk is turning to other rumored products like the AirPods wireless headphones, AirPower charging mat and a new iPod Touch.

The Best Wireless Earbuds for Audio Quality

What truly wireless earbuds are actually worth your time?

Filed Under Amazon, Apple & Music

While we’ve been well on our way to a truly wireless existence (I’m looking at you, umbilical cord) in almost every facet of our life, the “truly wireless” headphone segment has been dominated by Apple’s AirPods, and for good reason. They’re the headphones to beat when it comes to ease of use, and seemingly every manufacturer is trying to best Apple with their own AirPod alternative.