On Friday President Trump met with Apple CEO Tim Cook to discuss Trump’s upcoming planned tariffs on certain consumer goods imported into America from China. The 10% tariff would have been slapped onto $300 billion worth of goods that originated in China starting on September 1, but last week Trump delayed some of those tariffs—including ones on iPad, MacBooks, iPhones, and other smartphones—until December 15.
The reprieve gave Apple some breathing room, considering the original September 1st date would have hit Apple’s upcoming iPhone 11 launch hard. When a government imposes tariffs on products, companies almost always push the cost of those tariffs onto the consumer. That would have meant consumers would be paying 10% more for iPhones next month, which could have hurt Apple’s bottom line and its ability to compete against other manufacturers of smartphones.
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
And that was essentially Cook’s argument to Trump when the pair had dinner on Friday night, reports Reuters. Cook reportedly told the president that Trump’s tariffs would hurt American tech companies like Apple because competitors like Samsung wouldn’t be hit with the same tariffs. While both Apple and Samsung make their devices overseas and import them into the U.S., Samsung devices are made primarily in South Korea, and thus would not be subject to Trump’s tariffs. That would give Samsung a strong pricing advantage over Apple.
Trump told reporters Cook “made a good case” that tariffs could hurt Apple, saying, “I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I’m thinking about it.” Whether or not Cook alone could persuade Trump is debatable, but plenty of business leaders and economists agree with the Apple CEO. Tariffs are usually bad for American consumers and the economy.
While Trump has pushed the date back on most Chinese tariffs to December 15, other tariffs still go into effect on September 1, including ones that could affect prices of the Apple Watch, the HomePod, and AirPods.