Bloomberg is reporting that the latest round of tariffs enacted by U.S. President Donald Trump on imports from China will likely include an exception for Apple products like the Apple Watch and AirPods head phones.
The government is expected to release a final list of duties on $200 billion in goods, which will be hit with a 10 percent levy, according to Bloomberg. Apple has yet to respond, though CEO Tim Cook had dinner with Trump and first lady Melania Trump in August.
A product code that covers Apple Inc.’s Watch and AirPods — as well as similar smart watches, fitness trackers and other goods made by competitors — is not on the list. The product code covers wireless devices, and it was included on a preliminary list the administration released in July. Other Apple products under the code include the HomePod speaker, BeatsWL headphones, and AirPort and Time Capsule internet routers. The value of such imports from China is about $12 billion, according to one of the people.
Apple said a “wide range” of the company’s products would be hurt by the next round of tariffs imposed by Trump in an escalating trade war. The iPhone was not mentioned in a Sept. 5 letter Apple sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The company asked Lighthizer to reconsider the tariffs altogether, instead focusing on other ways to help consumers.
The concern for U.S. consumers is additional tariffs will begin pushing up the cost of a number of products that are made in China.
“Tariffs increase the cost of our U.S. operations, divert our resources, and disadvantage Apple compared to foreign competitors,” according to Apple’s letter. “More broadly, tariffs will lead to higher U.S. consumer prices, lower overall U.S. economic growth, and other unintended economic consequences.”
Apple’s production chain in centered in China, and earlier this year a communist party newspaper named it as the company most damaged by a trade war, if it were to continue on its present course of tit-for-tat tariffs.
The two governments have already levied 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of each other’s exports, and Beijing has threatened an additional $60 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods it will hit with additional taxes in retaliation.