The Trump administration is headed for a trade war with China, and there’s danger that Apple will get caught in the middle.
That said, the tariffs on Chinese imports going into effect in July won’t affect the iPhone or iPad. However, these devices could easily be part of a later round, which President Trump promises will be 10x bigger.
The items in this round of taxes on $50B worth of imports were specifically picked by the White House to not affect consumers (AKA voters in this fall’s elections).
“The list does not include goods commonly purchased by American consumers such as cellular telephones or televisions,” the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said.
Still, some well-known products are being hit, including the Nest thermostat. This falls under the capital goods category not consumer products, according to Reuters. That means Google has to pay a tariff on each one.
iPhone isn’t made in China
Apple’s Tim Cook is adamant that the iPhone isn’t made in China. It’s assembled there by Foxconn, but the design work happens in the U.S. Many components are produced in America as well.
Even so, the Trump administration could place import taxes on iPhone units as they are brought into the U.S. to be sold to consumers.
It’s not happening next month, but Trump has threatened tariffs on $450B worth of Chinese goods. “By the time you get to $200 billion, you’re going to start to affect products consumed by every member of the family,” Hun Quach, VP of international trade for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, told Reuters.
Pres. Trump has complained in the past that the iPhone should be assembled in America. Hefty import fees would encourage Apple to do so.