Trump ups ante on China

Geraldine Edwards
September 10, 2018

That's what the company told US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a letter dated Wednesday, a last-ditch appeal to avoid additional tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion that could go into effect as soon as Friday.

US President Donald Trump's administration has threatened 25 percent tariffs on the Chinese imports, including seafood, furniture, lighting products, tires, chemicals and plastics.

Trump acknowledged in a tweet that "Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China", but suggested the issue was not with the tariffs themselves.

China's exports and imports rose at a sharply slower pace in August, but its global trade surplus remained stable at United States dollars 27.9 billion amid a heated USA trade war, official figures showed Saturday.

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The President is banking on the strong United States economy - with unemployment at record lows - to take the edge off the damage to the U.S. itself in the face of a trade war.

Chinese officials acknowledged Chinese exporters have been rushing out shipments to beat new USA tariffs, buoying the headline growth readings, while some companies such as steel mills are diversifying and selling more products to other countries.

But he told reporters traveling with him to Fargo, North Dakota that "behind that, there's another $267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want".

As CNBC noted, Apple CEO Tim Cook had previously brushed off Trump tariffs, claiming to have had conversations with the POTUS, arguing that the tariffs would not hit Apple products. "Make your products in the United States instead of China".

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The White House has accused China of stealing USA intellectual property and forcing American companies to share their technology with Chinese companies.

Apple also mentioned that tariffs would raise the cost of servers, hard drives and cables for U.S. data centers. Fitness tracker maker Fitbit FIT.N said it would be hit by tariffs, and chipmaker Intel Corp INTC.O said the levies could slow down the adoption of 5G networks, the next generation of wireless data technology for phones and other devices.

This would further escalate the trade war Trump is leading against China. China has threatened retaliation, which could include action against United States companies operating there.

At the same time, Apple is already using components sourced from US manufacturers in some of its products.

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Earlier this year, the Trump administration imposed a package of tariffs on $50bn of incoming Chinese-made parts used for "aerospace, information and communication technology, and machinery".

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