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Apple could be facing a double tariff whammy in Trump/China trade spat

Remember way back, when the-then presidential candidate Donald Trump promised he was going to make Apple ‘build their damn computers and things’ in America? Well, a couple of unpleasant years later, those words may come back to haunt Apple.

Until now the president’s aggressive tariffs levied against goods made in China haven’t affected smartphones, but further rounds might, according to a Wall Street Journal report this week.

The WSJ brings word from ‘trade experts’ who say the threatened $500 billion round of levies could cover iPhones and other smartphones manufactured in China. Considering Apple brought $45 billion worth of iPhone handsets in to the US last year, the repatriation of those handsets could cost the company a significant amount of money.

The report says:

“Smartphones weren’t included in the levies on $34 billion of Chinese goods imposed on July 6, nor are they targeted in a second round worth $16 billion that is expected in August. They also haven’t been included in a third round of $200 billion in goods that the Trump administration identified earlier this month.

“But now, President Donald Trump is threatening levies on a total of $500 billion in imports, which would cover just about everything China ships to the U.S., including iPhones, trade experts say.”

If China retaliated with tariffs on US brands, Apple could be facing a double-whammy. The report adds:

“China could retaliate with higher duties and punitive actions against American companies. Apple would be a likely target because of the iPhone’s 9% share of China’s smartphone market.”

Should Apple products be subject to such extreme tariffs, the hit is likely to be shared by consumers who could conceivably face price increases for future Apple smartphones. Apple is yet to comment on the story, but CEO Tim Cook has previously spoken out against the idea of aggressive tariffs.

Should the tariffs become too much for Apple and its consumers to absorb, perhaps the company will be forced into bringing iPhone manufacturing back to the good ol’ US of A after all.

Do you think tech manufacturers have a responsibility to assist the economies of their home countries first and foremost? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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