Trade tension between the United States and China has Donald Trump give a hard message to Apple: the company will have to manufacture its products in American territory if it doesn’t want to be charged. In reaction, Tim Cook sought out Trump with an argument difficult to ignore: that tariffs will undermine Apple’s ability to compete with Samsung.
Last Friday (16), they both had dinner at the American President’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Two days later, Trump spoke to the press conference and highlighted Cook’s argument that Samsung is not paying additional fees for being based in South Korea.
It is not difficult to understand the situation. Because of the trade war that states are waging with China, the American government has decided to apply a new series of tariffs on Chinese imports.
In the case of Apple, tariffs that will take effect from September 1 may make products such as Apple Watch and AirPods have an additional import cost of 10%. iPhones, iPads and MacBooks would be saved, but only until December 15, when a new set of tariffs is due to take effect.
Most of Apple’s products depend on Chinese factories, so the company has been trying to escape the new import tariffs that the United States is applying to products from China.
One of the most recent moves was an attempt to lighten the tariff burden on the new Mac Pro, but Trump’s reaction at the time was forceful: “manufacture them [as peças do Mac Pro] in the United States, without tariffs ”, he declared on Twitter.
This is where Samsung accidentally lends a helping hand to Apple. When meeting with Trump, Tim Cook argued that the Korean company is its number one competitor, but that, being based in South Korea, it is not subject to the new tariff tables.
Samsung’s situation is even more comfortable than Apple’s. Although it has production plants in other countries, such as Vietnam and Indonesia, the company’s main factories are actually based in South Korea – the country maintains a trade agreement with the United States that guarantees tariff exemption for electronics.
As the meeting is recent, no decision that could benefit Apple has been made, but it looks like the meeting will have a favorable outcome: “I thought he [Tim Cook] made a very convincing case, so I’m thinking about it, ”Donald Trump told the press.