Are iPhones Tariff-Exempt? After Months of Tim Cook Lobbying, Trump Won’t Say | NTK Network Are iPhones Tariff-Exempt? After Months of Tim Cook Lobbying, Trump Won’t Say

Are iPhones Tariff-Exempt? After Months of Tim Cook Lobbying, Trump Won’t Say

Despite covering a wide range of topics with Reuters reporter Jeff Mason, Trump was mum when asked whether Apple’s iPhones will be impacted by tariffs on China.

By NTK Staff | 08.22.2018 @12:00pm

Reuters reporter Jeff Mason interviewed President Donald Trump on Monday, and while the two had a wide-ranging interview on topics as diverse as Turkey, the Federal Reserve, and meeting again with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, there was at least one topic that Trump was not eager to talk about: whether his new tariffs on China will impact Apple’s iPhones.

According to Jeff Mason, one of the Reuters reporters who scored an Oval Office interview with Donald Trump Monday, the President declined to answer questions on several topics.

Asked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Tuesday what those questions were, Mason offered one example: Would iPhones be affected by the next round of tariffs?

Trump declined to say, one way or the other.

In June, the New York Times reported that Trump had assured Apple CEO Tim Cook that he would not place a tariff on iPhones assembled in China and shipped to the U.S. Still, whether that’s true or not, Apple isn’t out of the woods. China still holds the power to slow down Apple’s supply chain operation “under the guise of national-security concerns,” the Times wrote in June.

The fact that Trump dodged the direct question when asked this week should be troubling for Cook. To keep profits and stocks up, Cook needs to thread a very delicate needle between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. In recent months, Cook has tried buddying up to Trump – attending state dinners, holding private meetings – in order to protect Apple from these tariffs. Trump’s caginess on the topic could spell trouble for Cook.

Earlier this week, outlets reported that Apple deleted 25,000 apps deemed “illegal” by the Chinese government. That followed the news from last summer when Apple deleted more than 600 virtual private network apps designed to allow Chinese citizens to get around the authoritarian country’s “Great Firewall” that limits access to the full internet. And at the behest of Chinese officials, Apple also recently moved iCloud storage data from U.S. to Chinese facilities.

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