President Donald Trump (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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President Donald Trump said Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim
Cook voiced concerns about chief competitor Samsung Electronics getting an edge
because its products, unlike Apple’s, won’t be subject to tariffs when imported
by the US.
Cook and Trump had dinner on Friday night, while the
president was at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump described the
conversation to reporters as he prepared to travel back to Washington.
The majority of Apple’s products are due to be hit with 10%
tariffs in the next weeks or months. Levies on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple
laptops have been pushed back to December 15, but the tariff hit on the Apple
Watch, AirPods, and many accessories is still planned for September 1.
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Trump said Cook made a “good case” about the
difficulty in competing with Samsung if Apple products are subject to import
tariffs. “I thought he made a very compelling argument.”
Apple will be hit by tariffs because it makes the majority of its devices in China before importing them to the US and other parts of the world.
Samsung, however, builds its products across several countries, including Vietnam and South Korea in addition to China. That means their tariff impact will be far less than the impact to Cupertino, California-based Apple.
READ: China preps tariff response as Trump sees a Xi call
“It’s tough for Apple to pay tariffs if it’s competing
with a very good company that’s not,” Trump said.
Apple needs to incorporate the cost of tariffs into the cost
of goods, while Samsung currently won’t, putting Apple at a competitive
disadvantage. Samsung is launching its latest device, the Note 10, later this
month, while Apple is planning upgrades to the Apple Watch, iPhone, and its
computers for later this year.