Trump tells Apple to make products in US to avoid China tariffs

Trump speaking at a Republican Party fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota.
Trump speaking at a Republican Party fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS/AFP) – US President Trump tweeted on Saturday (Sept 8) that Apple should make products inside the United States if it wants to avoid tariffs on Chinese imports.

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, but it did not mention the iPhone.

Trump, speaking on Friday aboard Air Force One, said the administration had tariffs planned for an additional US$267 billion (S$370 billion) worth of Chinese goods.

"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 tweeted on Saturday.

"Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now. Exciting!"

The higher cost of wages in the United States could offset the benefits Apple might gain by avoiding tariffs affecting its products manufactured in China.

US businesses have become increasingly concerned about the tariffs, which are raising prices for manufacturers and could hurt the economy.

But Trump has been unapologetic, insisting that his tough tactics will work.

The technology sector is among the biggest potential losers as tariffs would make imported computer parts more expensive.

Apple’s AirPods headphones, some of its Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face levies.

Apple declined to comment on Trump's tweet.

“The burden of the proposed tariffs will fall much more heavily on the United States than on China,” Apple said in its letter on Friday.