Tim Cook warns Trump that China tariffs will hurt Apple and help competition

Mike Deerkoski

Experts have been warning of the consequences of Trump’s trade war with China for a while, citing price increases for multiple goods, including consumer electronics. Now, a new voice has joined the choir — Apple CEO Tim Cook. At a recent dinner with the U.S. president, Cook warned that tariffs will negatively affect Apple, while boosting the business of the competition.

The main concern the Apple CEO apparently expressed was that the U.S. company’s biggest competitor, Samsung, would not be subject to the same tariffs. The Korean OEM can avoid them thanks to a more diverse supply chain. Samsung manufactures many of its products in South Korea, Vietnam, and other countries. Apple, on the other hand, still heavily relies on Chinese factories for the assembly of multiple devices.

Trump, however, seemed receptive to Tim Cook’s arguments, telling reporters on Sunday: “He said they are a very good competitor. So, Samsung is not paying tariffs because they’re based in a different location, mostly South Korea but they’re based in South Korea. And I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I’m thinking about it.”

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For now, most of Apple’s products are safe from price increases. Tariffs on iPhones, iPads, and MacBook laptops have been delayed until December. According to Trump, this has been done in an effort to avoid price increases for U.S. customers around Christmas season. However, tariffs that will hit other products — the Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod — go into effect September 1.

Earlier last week, Trump also tweeted that Apple “will be spending vast sums of money in the US,” but the company has not announced any new U.S. investment plans.

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