A lobbyist representing tech companies including Apple has warned that tariffs on Chinese products will have a catastrophic impact.
Sage Chandler, of the Consumer Technology Association, said that President Trump’s proposed import tariffs will cause the price of consumer products to rise significantly.
The Trump administration has suggested putting tariffs on an extra $300 billion of Chinese imports. This could happen as soon as July 2 if the U.S. and China don’t come to an agreement. Tech products would be among the hardest hit. They represent around $167 billion of the $300 billion worth of products that would be affected.
Chandler spoke at a meeting hosted by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. He said that tariffs would cause the cost of cellphones to increase by an average of $70. The price of a laptop, meanwhile, would rise by $120.
“A lot of consumers will look at that and say: ‘I’ll just wait for the next generation,’” he told Reuters. “That’s a lot of money for the average consumer.”
To offset the risk of increased China tariffs, Apple has asked its manufacturers to look beyond China. Foxconn has already said that it could produce iPhones bound for the U.S. outside China. This would be one way to get around impending tariffs.
The Consumer Technology Association represents tech companies including Apple, Facebook, Google and Intel. Under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple’s lobbying efforts have ramped up, compared to what they were under Steve Jobs. In 2009, Apple only spent $1.5 million lobbying Congress. Last year, that figure rose to $6.6 million. However, Apple still doesn’t spend nearly as much as its FAANG rivals.