Trump’s aluminum tariffs could drive up Mac and iPhone prices


macOS high sierra
Anyone who taxes aluminum is no friend of Jony Ive's, you'd imagine!
Photo: Apple

President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on imported aluminum and steel could hit Apple, which is a big user of both, where it hurts.

And if it’s anything like other times that Apple has been slapped with increased import duties, that could translate to increased prices for customers.

Trump said on Thursday that the United States will impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum for “a long period of time.” Already, some manufacturers who will be affected by the new import duty have urged the Trump Administration not to follow through with it. Apple has yet to comment.

Exactly how the import duties will be implemented hasn’t yet been made clear, and some pundits have argued it will not affect its pricing greatly. As analyst Gene Munster points out, if the levies are applied only to raw materials imported to the U.S. the effects will be minuscule because Apple does very little manufacturing in the U.S. (Although that could change in the future!). However, if it includes finished goods it could mean that the cost of Macs and iPhones could rise by as much as 0.2 percent in the United States.

“I don’t see much of an increase in costs,” said Jun Zhang, an analyst at Rosenblatt Securities who follows Apple and other tech companies, told Bloomberg. “It’ll just increase the trade wars between the U.S. and China, but there won’t be much impact on the technology itself.”

Apple could potentially swallow any import duties itself, to keep costs the same for customers. Judging by how it’s behaved in the past, though, it is likely that these costs would be passed onto customers.


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