Ahead of his meeting with Chinese president Xi at the G20 summit next month, Trump threatened to enact a fresh round of tariffs on “all remaining Chinese imports”, including Apple products manufactured there, Bloomberg reports.
The news sent the Dow Jones plunging by 1 percent. Apple shares were down 1.9 percent on the back of news that the trade war between China and the US would not be ending anytime soon.
“I think we will make a great deal with China, and it has to be great because they’ve drained our country”, Trump said to Fox News.
Trump has already imposed tariffs on over $200 billion worth of imports from China. China has retaliated with $60 billion worth of tariffs. In the first round of levies, certain Apple products, including the Apple Watch and AirPods, were exempted at Apple’s behest.
In September, Apple wrote US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, warning that tariffs would ultimately harm Americans and the competitiveness of the US economy.
“Our concern with these tariffs is that the U.S. will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower U.S. growth and competitiveness and higher prices for U.S. consumers,” Apple wrote in the letter.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was also able to extract a promise from Trump not to impose levies on imports of the iPhone in June 2018, The New York Times reported.
With Trump’s latest declaration, however, it’s no longer clear that those exemptions apply. If the new tariffs are enacted, they will likely be proposed in December and go into effect in January.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did add that nothing was set in stone and that things could change following Trump and Xi’s meeting in Argentina next month.
“I’m not going to get ahead of the conversation,” Sanders said, according to Bloomberg. “You have two of the most powerful leaders in the world. I think that’s consequential no matter how you look at it and we’ll see what happens when they sit down.”
As things stand, however, increased tariffs are well within the realm of possibility. Trump recently promised supporters that America will win this trade war.
“We are in the middle of a pretty nasty dispute. We’re in a trade dispute – I want to use that word because it’s a nice, soft word – but we’re going to win,” Trump said last Saturday at a rally in Indiana. “You know why? ‘Cause we always win.”