Apple CEO Tim Cook took advantage of a dinner with Donald Trump on Friday, Aug. 17, 2019, to urge the US president not to raise new tariffs on products made in China. The CEO would have managed to convince the US president that these new barriers would favor his main competitor Samsung. New taxes are due to come into effect on September 1, 2019.
The leaders of the big US companies continue to try, backstage, to influence the sometimes somewhat muscular policy of the White House – and it is in this context that Tim Cook and Donald Trump were dining together Friday. This time, the two men mentioned the trade war and especially the new customs barriers for products made in China. Some imported products will indeed see their price increased by 10% on this date. The AirPods and Apple Watch, in particular, would be concerned – while the iPhone, iPad and MacBooks would be spared for now. But later, on September 15, new import taxes could be lifted, affecting an even larger number of products.
Tim Cook said that the new customs barriers will especially favor Samsung
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Before the meeting, Donald Trump recalled in a tweet, as it became customary, what remains his number 1 goal. American companies, especially Apple, re-locate their production in the United States. “I’m having dinner tonight with Tim Cook from Apple. They will spend vast sums of money in the United States. Awesome!”. However, Tim Cook managed to make it clear to the US president that new barriers were going to disadvantage Apple and especially favor its main competitor, Samsung. The Korean manufacturer relies on factories in Vietnam, India, Indonesia, South Korea and other Asian countries – all markets spared by US sanctions.
Trump explained at a press conference Sunday having had an “excellent meeting with Tim Cook”. “Tim told me about the customs barriers. And one of the things which he spoked, and that he defended well, is that Samsung is their No. 1 competitor and that the company does not pay customs barriers raised by the United States because they are based in South Korea”. And the US president continues: “It’s hard for Apple to pay customs taxes if they compete with a very big company that does not have the same obligations.” I asked him “how good is it as a competitor?” He told me it is a very good competitor. So we have Samsung who does not pay customs because they are located elsewhere, mainly in South Korea. And I think his argument was very convincing. So I think about it.