Tesla Requests U.S. Tariff Waiver on Graphite from China

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Photo: Adam Berg

As supply chain troubles cause electric vehicle (EV) prices to skyrocket in the U.S., a number of automakers are asking the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for tariff waivers on goods imported from China, including graphite – a key element for making EV batteries.

Tesla has requested a tariff waiver on graphite, a material that’s usually used in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries, which was one particular tariff lodged during Trump’s trade war with China, according to three public comments filed by the company on Wednesday, as reported by CNBC.

In the filings, the automaker wrote, “As a result of Tesla’s due diligence process for suppliers of artificial graphite, globally and in the United States, Tesla has concluded that no company in the United States is currently capable of producing artificial graphite to the required specifications and capacity needed for Tesla’s production.”

Some temporary exceptions to the tariffs expired late last year or early this year, though the USTR also said in October that it would continue to evaluate tariff exceptions and waivers as a potential option, as decided on a case-by-case basis.

Automakers like Tesla could push U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to return to a 25 percent tariff exclusion on imported graphite from China, along with a variety of other elements necessary to build EVs.

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