He went on to assert in another tweet that he was against import duties in general, "but the current rules make things very hard", he tweeted.
Frustrated by this imbalance, Musk asked Trump for "equal & fair rules for cars". While Tesla wants complete ownership of its factory, China's central government requires that Chinese companies have at least a 50% ownership stake in vehicle factories built by foreign companies.
In a series of tweets, Musk pointed out that American cars exported to China are charged a 25 import duty, whereas a Chinese auto coming to America only pays a 2.5 percent duty.
Musk also appeared to criticize former President Obama in his Twitter thread, claiming that "nothing happened" after he raised his concerns about China's foreign auto tariff with the Obama Administration.
"We're going to be doing a reciprocal tax program at some point, so that if China is going to charge us 25% or if India is going to charge us 75%.we're going to be at those same numbers".
A 25 percent import tariff on Teslas shipped to China "catapults the sticker price beyond the means of most consumers" and gives manufacturers of cheaper electric vehicles an advantage over Tesla, according to Bloomberg. Musk has said in the past that the electric semi is capable of going 500 miles on a single electric charge even while hauling an 80,000-pound load.
Earlier Thursday, Trump praised Musk and SpaceX as he hailed the private space industry.
"Just want a fair outcome, ideally where tariffs/rules are equally moderate", Musk tweeted. For me, that's more fantastic than watching the rocket go up, 'cause I've never seen that before. Nobody has seen it before, where they're saving the boosters. They came back, without wings, without anything.
Tesla calls this a "production" run, but its target for actually producing these still seems to be 2019, with a likely delivery time frame more like 2020. "It's got to change", the president said, seemingly taking the lead from Musk.
Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services said on Thursday Tesla Inc shareholders should vote against a proposal for a $2.6 billion performance-based stock option grant for Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk.
"We think what Tesla has achieved so far is pretty remarkable, but there's more they can do in not just automotive, but the energy markets", Tom Slater, a Baillie Gifford partner and fund manager told Bloomberg in an interview.
Musk has met with Trump on several occasions since his election in November 2016.