Possible China tariffs could drive up the price of all Apple products

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Donald Trump speaks to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona.
The future of Apple prices could rest on a meeting with Donald Trump next month.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

It’s just the news you probably didn’t want to hear before a new Apple keynote event: Your Apple products could be about to get even pricier.

The reason? The Trump administration is reportedly considering tariffs on, “all remaining Chinese imports” by early December. While Apple has so far gotten away unscathed in the burgeoning U.S.-China trade war, this would be all but guaranteed to affect Apple’s business — since the majority of its products are manufactured in China.

The tariffs could be introduced if an upcoming summit with President Trump and Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, does not go as planned.

A Bloomberg article said that the figure would bring the total amount of new tariffs introduced in 2018 to more than half a trillion dollars, including the $250 billion on imported goods which are already in place.

While no final decision has been made, this could certainly take place in the event that the planned November Trump-Xi meeting in Buenos Aires, as part of the Group of 20 summit, fails to result in a satisfactory outcome. The article cited several people with supposed insider knowledge of the discussions.

Apple escapes… or does it?

Earlier this year, Tim Cook was reportedly assured that the iPhone wouldn’t been among the items to be hit with an import tariff as part of the United States’ trade war with China.

However, since then President Trump has seemingly changed his tune. Recently he tweeted that, in order to guarantee no price increase, Apple should consider moving all of its manufacturing to the U.S.

“Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China – but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive,” Trump wrote. “Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now. Exciting!”

At present, the U.S. doesn’t have the kind of manufacturing facilities to make this possible — although companies such as Foxconn are supposedly in the process of opening up a plant in the States. Still, even if it was possible for Apple to relocate its manufacturing, that would also likely cause a hike in Apple prices due to the higher manufacturing costs.

For the sake of cheaper iPhones, iPads and, you know, a good global economy, let’s hope this summit between Trump and Xi Jinping goes well!

Source: Bloomberg