Trump Reportedly Told Apple that Tariffs against China Would Spare iPhones
Tech giant worries China will retaliate as trade tensions heat up
Apple Inc. iPhones assembled in China will not be subject to U.S. tariffs, according to a report Monday, but the tech giant may still get punished by rising trade tensions.
The New York Times reported that the Trump administration has told Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook that tariffs would not be placed on iPhones imported from China. The Times said Cook visited Trump at the White House last month to warn the president that imposing tariffs against Chinese goods could hurt Apple.
Last week, Trump approved about $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, including some microchips. China announced retaliatory tariffs against U S. goods, and late Monday ,Trump said he was preparing an additional $200 billion in tariffs against China because of that retaliation — and another $200 billion in tariffs on top of that if China again retaliates.
Tariffs aside, Apple officials are reportedly worried that the company may find itself in the crossfire of a trade war, and that China may retaliate by causing delays to its supply chain and increasing the level of regulatory scrutiny to its products. Those fears are well-founded: Reuters reported last week that Ford Motor Co.’s F, imported autos were already being delayed in Chinese ports because of trade tensions.
China is an increasingly vital market for Apple. About a quarter of its annual revenue — $50 billion — comes from China, and last quarter Apple’s China revenue grew 21%.
Apple shares AAPL are up 11.5% this year, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, of which Apple is a component, is up 1% in 2018.