Apple can avoid tariffs by shifting production to US

Hugh Fox
September 11, 2018

President Donald Trump concedes that some Apple Inc. products may become more expensive if his administration imposes "massive" additional tariffs on Chinese-made goods, but he says the tech company can fix the problem by moving production to the U.S.

Mr Trump says he wants to stop the "unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China" and protect jobs. An opportunity could take place when world leaders gather at the UN General Assembly in NY this month and the Group of 20 summit in Argentina in November, he said.

"Make no mistake about it: Not only Rockland's business, but its very existence is imperiled by unfair Chinese trade practices and the harm will cascade down the US supply chain", Berman said.

Rockland already pays tariffs ranging from 5 percent to 15 percent on some of the raw materials it imports from China, and Berman predicted any additional duties would be devastating to the company. Apple's AirPods headphones, some of its Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face levies. China has confidence that it can maintain steady economic growth, said Gao Feng, a spokesman for the ministry. The U.S. imported US$505 billion of Chinese products in 2017, Census Bureau figures show.

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It would also be in addition to tariffs his administration has already imposed on $50 billion in Chinese imports, for which Beijing has retaliated with an equal amount of import taxes on US goods. In turn, those companies could be forced to raise prices or lay off workers to control costs.

Manufacturers and small and mid-sized firms in particular can't quickly adjust and the tariffs imposed so far haven't led to any meaningful concessions, a coalition of the National Retail Federation and 150 organizations said in separate comments to Lighthizer.

Economists and investors have, according to the Guardian, expressed concern over the standoff between the two countries, warning that the trade war could derail the global market and provoke more counter-tariffs to Trump tariffs.

Now imagine if, before the end of the year, a base 13-inch MacBook Pro that would normally cost $US1300 ($1818) is suddenly priced closer to $US1600 ($2237) after the cost increase from added tariffs gets passed along to consumers.

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Height expects Trump to reiterate his intention to proceed with the next round of China tariffs affecting roughly $200 billion of imports now that the public comment period has concluded.

The technology sector is one of the biggest potential losers in the proposed $200 billion tariff list.

The company told trade officials in a letter on Friday that the proposed tariffs would affect prices for a "wide range" of Apple products, including its watch.

Beijing has warned that it would hit back with duties on $60 billion in American products - a much smaller figure that shows China will not be able to match USA tariffs dollar-for-dollar. The Chinese government has said it would help local and even foreign businesses in the country mitigate the effects of the trade dispute. If that pace continued for the remainder of this year, Chinese imports would top $548bn - leaving Trump a bit short of complete coverage of Chinese goods.

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Nearly 350 individuals from companies, trade associations and other entities testified, with most opposed to the levies. But, as the Guardian noted, Trump's tariffs are not working.

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