Manufacture in US or face tariffs, Trump warns Apple (Lead)

Washington, July 27 (IANS) In a warning to Apple CEO Tim Cook, US President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on the components of the company's high-end Mac Pro computer -- its most expensive product -- if it decides to shift production from the US to China.

"Apple will not be given tariff waiver, or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China. Make them in the USA, no Tariffs!" the US President tweeted on Friday.

Despite the ongoing US-China trade tensions, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker is reportedly moving production of its newly-launched Mac Pro desktop computer to China.

Mac is the only Apple device being assembled in Austin, Texas, while all other products like the iPhones and iPads are being manufactured in China.

According to The Wall Street Journal: "The tech giant has tapped Taiwanese contractor Quanta Computer Inc. to manufacture the $6,000 desktop computer and is ramping up production at a factory near Shanghai.

Trump has been telling Cook to shift manufacturing from China to the US.

After Apple hinted at increasing the price of its products owing to tariffs on China last year, he asked the iPhone maker to shift manufacturing from Beijing to Washington.

Immediately after Trump's tweet, the value of Apple shares dipped slightly on the Nasdaq index, where shares of the main technology firms are traded.

The Mac Pro, whose latest model was presented at the Apple Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC19) in San Jose, California early last June, is a computer conceived for specialists in video design and edition. It is priced at $6,000 and is the last large device that Apple still makes in the US.

Since it is a luxury item and production is relatively small, the tech giant has decided to move its manufacturing amid heightened trade tension between the US and China.

It is weighing the possibilities of being slapped with higher tariffs and therefore wrote a letter to the US government last month asking it to refrain from imposing new tariffs on imports from China.

In its note to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Apple said higher tariffs would be disastrous for its products such as iPhones, iPad tablets, Mac computers, AirPod wireless headphones and Apple TV media streaming devices, reported Efe.

Washington and Beijing got into a trade war in 2018 that led Trump to impose tariffs on all Chinese goods imported annually into the US, which are worth some $300 billion, while the government of Chinese President Xi Jinping did the same with US products valued at $60 billion.

At the G20 Summit in June, Trump and Xi came to a trade truce, after which no further tariffs have been levied, though the ones already decreed remain in effect.

--IANS

na/rtp

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