The ongoing trade war between the United States and China threatens to have a significant impact on the global consumer technology market, with pricing in particular set to rise should both countries fail to reach an agreement in coming months.
The US has already confirmed that new tariffs are set to be imposed in December, and many a manufacturer is weighing up what their impact will be. One such company is Apple, with CEO Tim Cook recently sitting down with US president Donald Trump to discuss the matter.
According to several publications that Trump spoke to following the meeting, including Bloomberg, Cook “made a very compelling argument.” In particular the head of Apple noted how tariffs would have a direct impact of the firm’s ability to compete with Samsung in particular.
As usual, Trump conducted one of his famous chopper talks to share some of the details of the meeting between the two.
“I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook, and Tim was talking to me about tariffs. And one of the things, and he made a good case, is that Samsung is their number-one competitor, and Samsung is not paying tariffs because they’re based in South Korea,” Trump said.
“And it’s tough for Apple to pay tariffs if they’re competing with a very good company that’s not. I said, ‘How good a competitor?’ He said they are a very good competitor. So Samsung is not paying tariffs because they’re based in a different location, mostly South Korea but they’re based in South Korea. And I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I’m thinking about it,” he continued.
As for whether he will change his mind regarding tariffs remains to be seen, but the chances are looking slim at this stage, especially as Trump first began imposing tariffs due to failed negotiations with China.
Any backtracking on the presidency’s staunch tariff stance may be viewed as being weak, which is not something Trump wants with the 2020 presidential elections to begin shortly.
As for Cook, he likely spoke to Trump as the firm readies to release its latest iPhone devices, which are expected to be revealed next month. With tariffs on China potentially pricing the phones out of the reach of many consumers, Apple will certainly want an agreement to be reached.
For now the US tech manufacturers are once again at the whim of Trump.