Trump Refuses to Waive Tariffs on Mac Pro, Expects Apple to Build a Plant in Texas Instead

Tim Cook and Donald Trump Credit: Flickr / The White House
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Although Apple has been fairly successful so far at persuading U.S. President Donald Trump to leave most of its products out of the escalating U.S. China Trade War, it seems that the company has now finally hit a brick wall with the Trump administration.

A series of filings with the U.S. Trade Representative last week revealed that Apple was trying to get a tariff exemption on parts for its Mac Pro, key parts of which are currently subject to a 25 percent duty, along with accessories like the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad.

While the requests were posted on July 18th in response to a tariff relief policy promised by President Trump, it seems that the U.S. President has already taken to Twitter to categorically deny Apple’s request.

Although Trump promised tariff relief if companies could prove that certain products or parts can only be sourced from China, if parts aren’t “strategically important” to Chinese industrial programs, or if import tariffs will cause “severe economic harm.” In this case, however, the U.S. President obviously feels that parts for Apple’s Mac Pro don’t fall into any of those categories.

Apple Expected to Build Plants in the U.S.

As President Trump’s tweet implies, he expects Apple to build plants in the U.S., and in fact confirmed that to reporters at the White House, as shown in a video clip published by Reuters.

Well, I want Apple to build their plants in the United States. I don’t want them to build them in China. So when I heard they’re going to build it in China, I said “It’s okay, you can build in China, but when you send your product into the United States, we’re gonna tariff you.” But we’ll work it out. A man I have a lot of liking for and respect is Tim Cook, and we’ll work it out. I think they’re going to announce they’re going to build a plant in Texas. And if they do that, I’m starting to get very happy.

U.S. President Donald Trump

This heavier-handed approach on the part of President Trump toward the Mac Pro may be at least partially the result of Apple having previously manufactured that particular system in the U.S. — the 2013 Mac Pro was made in Texas, and was in fact that only major hardware product the company has ever manufactured in the U.S. However, Apple ran into obvious labor and supply chain challenges with that product, so it’s no surprise that its new Mac Pro will be assembled in China. However, Apple has also made it clear that the new machine is designed and engineered in the U.S. along with domestically produced components that are shipped to China as part of the final assembly process.

It’s unclear whether Trump has some inside knowledge of Apple’s plans or he’s simply speculating, however he made claims last year that Apple was building three new plants in the U.S. that have yet to come to fruition, and Apple itself has remained completely silent on the U.S. President’s comments.

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