Trump says Tim Cook makes a 'compelling' argument against Apple paying tariffs
At a weekend meeting with Donald Trump, Tim Cook made a "compelling" argument for Apple to be exempt from tariffs.
Cook is said to have argued if Apple was forced to pay tariffs, it made it difficult to compete with other companies, such as Samsung. Trump acknowledged that it was "tough" for Apple to be paying tariffs on its China-made products when Samsung was not subject to them, but made no indication that exemption for Apple was on the cards.
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A number of Apple products including the Apple Watch and AirPods are about to be hit with a 10 percent import tariff next month, while others -- including the iPhone and iPad -- will be subject to the tariff from mid-December.
After the meeting with Cook, Trump said: "I had a very good meeting with Tim Cook. I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook, and Tim was talking to me about tariffs. And one of the things, and he made a good case, is that Samsung is their number-one competitor, and Samsung is not paying tariffs because they're based in South Korea".
He went on to say:
And it's tough for Apple to pay tariffs if they're competing with a very good company that's not. I said, "How good a competitor?" He said they are a very good competitor. So Samsung is not paying tariffs because they're based in a different location, mostly South Korea but they're based in South Korea. And I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I'm thinking about it.
While Trump may say that he is "thinking about" Cook's argument, it is unlikely that any exemption will be introduced for Apple. Cook's argument may be "compelling", but if Apple gains exemption, it would set a precedent that would likely see Trump inundated with requests from other technology firms.