Apple warns U.S. tariffs would hurt its global competitiveness

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Apple is not about to raise a white flag and give up on China.
Trump’s trade war with China is bad business for Apple.
Photo: Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr CC

Apple warned U.S. trade representatives this week that President Donald Trump’s plan to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods will negatively impact its contributions to the U.S. economy.

In a letter written to U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer, Apple urged the government not to impose tariffs. The new set of tariffs would make Apple’s products more expensive and give Apple’s competitors an advantage.

Apple’s letter sent on June 17, 2019 outlines which of its products would be hurt by the tariffs. The list contains pretty much every major Apple product and accessories as well. The company says it’d a proud U.S. company and that imposing the tariffs would weigh on its global competitiveness.

“The Chinese producers we compete with in global markets do not have a significant presence in the U.S. market, and so would not be impacted by U.S. tariffs,” wrote Apple. “A U.S. tariff would, therefore, tilt the playing field in favor of our global competitors.“

Getting out of China

Apple has reportedly been considering moving some of its production out of China. The company doesn’t have its own factories in China but has been in talks with its suppliers about moving 15% to 30% of iPhone production to Southeast Asia or other areas.

Foxconn says it has the capacity to make all U.S.-directed iPhones outside of China. Getting smaller suppliers to make a similar move might be hard to pull off though. A report this morning revealed right now might be the worst time for the company to pull out of China.

Tim Cook has told investors repeatedly that he thinks cooler heads will prevail in the U.S. vs China trade war. With Trump looking more emboldened than ever though it looks like Apple’s worst fears might become a reality.