US President Donald Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook met for dinner on Friday night. In an interview with reporters, Trump said the pair discussed the impact of tariffs on Apple’s business.
Cook reportedly argued that it would be hard for Apple to pay tariffs on its Chinese-assembled products, because many of its competitors do not have to pay the same level of tariffs, namely Samsung, whose manufacturing is mostly located in South Korea (via CNBC).
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The Trump administration had planned to introduce 10% tariffs on many consumer goods on September 1, which would include Apple’s biggest revenue driver — the iPhone.
However, last week, the government exempted some categories of products from the initial tariff imposition, including smartphones.
The introduction of import tariffs on products like the iPhone is currently delayed until December 15. This was good news for Apple, as it means the iPhone 11 launch in September will be unimpaired by tariff charges. Apple stock soared 5% on the news last week.
The September 1 tariffs will still affect many of Apple’s other products, like AirPods, the HomePod, and some Macs.
Having dinner tonight with Tim Cook of Apple. They will be spending vast sums of money in the U.S. Great!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2019
It seems like Trump was receptive to Cook’s argument at their meeting. Trump told reporters, “I thought he made a very compelling argument.”
Apple’s investor base will be waiting to see if the iPhone can continue to evade tariff costs, and it’s possible that the new December 1 date is further extended.