Tim Cook told Trump tariffs are the wrong way to deal with China

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Donald Trump speaks to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona.
Tim Cook met with President Trump last month.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

Tim Cook has shared some of the details of his recent meeting with President Donald Trump, during which he reportedly criticized the White House’s trade war with China.

“I felt that tariffs were not the right approach there, and I showed him some more analytical kinds of things to demonstrate why,” Cook told Bloomberg Television. Cook is referring to the Trump administration’s 25 percent tariffs on around $50 billion worth of products entering the U.S. from China.

Cook’s message to Trump focused on how important cooperation between China and the U.S. is, and how problematic tariffs may prove to be. Despite his criticism of the tax tariffs, Apple was spared from being hit by the charges.

Many people feared this would not be the case, due to Apple assembling many of its devices in China. Nonetheless, iPhone components were exempt from the tariff list, while other devices like flat-panel television sets were penalized.

Cook has plenty of incentive to keep things sweet between the U.S. and China. Apple does a large amount of its business in China, and Cook has talked about China being Apple’s future biggest market. However, the oftentimes shaky relationship between China and U.S. companies has hurt Apple before.

Also in his meeting with Trump, Cook asked for a solution to the threat of deportation facing undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. “We’re only one ruling away from a catastrophic case there,” Cook said.

Tim Cook meets with Trump

Cook’s meeting with Trump took place last month, a day after the Apple CEO attended Trump’s first state dinner alongside Apple VP Lisa Jackson.

According to Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, Cook was “most helpful” during the meeting with Trump. “He has a lot of experience in China, obviously,” Kudlow said. “He was very helpful in making some suggestions.”

While today’s report suggests Cook was not unanimously supportive of all Trump’s moves, Kudlow said the Apple CEO was enthusiastic about the administration’s recent tax cuts. Shortly following the implementation of the tax law,  Apple gave all its employees $2,500 worth of restricted stock.

Source: Bloomberg