President Donald Trump suggested this morning that Apple should move its manufacturing plants to America as a way to avoid tariffs in the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China, following reports that the company's products could become more expensive.
There is a strong sense of tension in the air today ahead of a possible announcement from Washington that they will impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
The US dollar was boosted by the data, but investors were jittery about US trade relations after President Donald Trump said he could hit China with more tariffs and alluded to trade talks with Japan while Canada negotiations continue.
President Trump's trade war with China moved up a gear last month when the U.S. brought in a 25% tax on a second wave of goods worth $16bn.
"That totally changes the equation", Trump said.
Beijing has warned that it would hit back with duties on $60 billion in American products - a much smaller figure that shows China will not be able to match U.S. tariffs dollar-for-dollar. The letter however, did say that it was hard to see how tariffs that will hurt companies in the U.S.as well as US consumers will advance the objectives of the government when it comes to the technology policies of China.
The office of the USA trade representative Thursday finished accepting comments on the next round of tariffs, which could hit up to $200 billion in Chinese products any day.
On the $200 billion list are consumer products such as cameras, suitcases, tires and vacuum cleaners, which would see a tariff of 10% to 25% levied upon them.
The two sides have imposed 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of each other's goods.
But while moving its manufacturing operations to the USA would allow it to skip the tariffs, Apple's products likely wouldn't be any cheaper.
In its letter, Apple argued that the way US trade officials calculate the USA trade balance - attributing the entire value of a product to a country like China where final assembly happens - fails to reflect the true value that Apple generates in the United States.
The surplus with the United States was larger than China's net surplus for the month, indicating China would be running a deficit if trade with the world's largest economy was excluded. The company could theoretically absorb the cost of some of the tariffs, since it is the most valuable publicly traded company in the world and recently became the first $1 trillion US company. Then last month, the escalating trade war moved up a gear when the USA brought in a 25% tax on a second wave of goods worth $16bn.
If the administration follows through with this latest round, tariffs would apply to a total of $517 billion of imports from China.
China will closely monitor the impact caused by the tariffs and help domestic and foreign companies operating in China to overcome difficulties.
China has responded to the tariffs on $200 billion by saying it will retaliate with tariffs on $60 billion. China's trade surplus with the USA has, therefore, risen almost 15 percent from January to August 2018.
US companies are joining forces to oppose a common threat-tariffs.
The presidential tweet was the latest salvo in a dispute between the Trump administration and companies that fear tariffs will hurt their business.
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