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- President Donald Trump will meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday.
- On the agenda: Trump’s relationship with China, recently proposed tariffs, and trade.
- Apple, along with many tech companies, relies on intermediary goods from China to make products.
President Donald Trump will welcome Apple CEO Tim Cook to the White House on Wednesday for a one-on-one meeting. And at the top of the agenda is tariffs.
According to the news website Axios, Cook plans to address the recently proposed tariffs on Chinese goods worth $50 billion annually. Trump has also suggested that a set of tariffs on another $100 billion worth of goods may be on the way.
“Looking forward to my meeting with Tim Cook of Apple,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “We will be talking about many things, including how the U.S. has been treated unfairly for many years, by many countries, on trade.”
The tariffs, if imposed, are likely to have a significant effect on Apple’s supply chain. The restrictions target intermediary goods, particularly in the technology sector, that companies use to build finished goods in the US.
It’s unclear how many of the approximately 1,300 Chinese goods that could be affected by the tariffs pertain to Apple. But the possibility of increased tensions between China and the US doesn’t bode well for a globally integrated company.
Additionally, the Trump administration’s new tariffs on aluminum and steel could also hit Apple’s cost structure.
When asked about the tariffs at a panel discussion in Beijing in March, Cook said countries that embraced open trade tended to fare better.
“Countries that embrace openness, that embrace trade, that embrace diversity are the countries that do exceptionally,” Cook said. “And the countries that don’t, don’t.”
Also problematic for Cook and the tech community is the short window for the rollout of the tariffs on the Chinese goods: 60 days from announcement to imposition. That would make it less feasible for Apple to shift production or renegotiate contracts with suppliers to adjust for the restrictions.
Thousands of companies have petitioned the Trump administration for exemptions to the metals tariffs. The final list of Chinese products that would be subject to the tariffs has not been finalized, so it’s possible Cook could lobby Trump to limit harm to Apple.
Trump, meanwhile, has shown a willingness to soften the rougher edges of tariffs.