Trump sounds confident that Apple will start manufacturing in U.S.

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Donald Trump speaks to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona.
Trump says Cook has "his eyes open" to U.S. plants.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

Donald Trump sounds confident that Tim Cook will bring Apple manufacturing jobs back to the United States. In a new interview, the president-elect said Cook “loves his country” and has “his eyes open” to building production facilities at home.

Trump called for Apple and other big U.S. companies to start manufacturing goods in the United States throughout his presidential campaign, and he’s held meetings with Cook since he was elected to try and persuade him to bring jobs back from China.

During one conversation, Trump told Cook it would be a “big achievement” to build manufacturing plants in America — and Cook appears to have been swayed.

“I really believe he loves this country and I think he’d like to do something major here,” Trump told Axios.

“And I told him, I said, ‘Tim, it’s going to be a big achievement the day you start building some of your big plants in this country instead of other countries.’ And I think he’s got his eyes open to it.”

It certainly seems like Cook is more open to the idea than Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs ever was. Back in 2010, a year into his first presidential stint, Barack Obama asked Apple about manufacturing at home, and Jobs said bluntly, “Those jobs aren’t coming back.”

How Trump will encourage Apple to bring manufacturing to U.S.

Trump isn’t just pleading with Apple to bring manufacturing jobs to America, though; he’s also introducing changes that will make the move more attractive — like easing regulations and cutting taxes.

He could also cut repatriation taxes, allowing Apple to bring billions of dollars currently sitting in banks overseas into the United States without having to hand over so much to the government.

There are plenty of reasons why manufacturing in China makes more sense for Apple, however. Not only are labor costs significantly cheaper, but there are a greater number of skilled workers, too — as Cook explained during an interview with 60 Minutes in December 2015.

“You can take every tool and die maker in the United States and probably put them in a room that we’re currently sitting in,” Cook told Charlie Rose. “In China, you would have to have multiple football fields.”

Apple certainly won’t be manufacturing all of its products in the United States anytime soon, but Trump should be pleased Cook is at least open to the idea of building some plants there.