Carmakers Get Relief in Crosshairs of China, US Trade Spat

Carmakers from BMW AG to Toyota Motor Corp. got some good news from China after President Xi Jinping reiterated a pledge to reduce import tariffs on vehicles this year, heeding decades-long pleas from companies seeking better access to the world’s biggest auto market.

China will “significantly lower car import tariffs” and “sincerely hopes to boost imports,” Xi said in a speech at the Boao Forum in Hainan Tuesday. Xi also reiterated plans to relax foreign ownership limits for car ventures and said the government will try to roll out the policies as early as possible. He didn’t offer details.

“This is a very important action by China,” Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in a Twitter post. “Avoiding a trade war will benefit all countries.”