CUPERTINO (CBS SF / CNN) — President Donald Trump says that Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a “very compelling argument” that new tariffs would harm the US tech giant’s ability to compete with its top rival.
The president told reporters Sunday that Cook had argued during a meeting that imposing taxes on Apple products would make it difficult for the company to compete with South Korea’s Samsung. Trump said Friday on Twitter that he would be having dinner with Cook that evening.
“Tim was talking to me about tariffs and … he made a good case … that Samsung is their number one competitor and Samsung is not paying tariffs,” Trump told reporters on Sunday. “I thought he made a very compelling argument so I’m thinking about it.”
Trump had announced plans to impose taxes on another $300 billion of Chinese imports on September 1, but the administration has since delayed taxes on tech products including smartphones, laptops and video game consoles until December 15. Tech companies warned that the tariffs would increase costs for consumers and harm their ability to make a profit. Tariffs on other goods will still take effect next month.
Many Apple products, including the iPhone, are manufactured in China by suppliers including Foxconn. Samsung makes some of its smartphones in China, but the company also operates plants in countries such as Vietnam and India.
Shares in Apple gained 1.5% in premarket trading Monday. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Samsung said the company had no comment.
Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, has been hit this year by weaker demand for its smartphones. The trend has been particularly pronounced in China, where economic growth has slowed amid the ongoing trade war with the United States.
Trump has previously pressured Apple to move more of its operations to the United States.
“My focus is the United States. I want to get those companies to come back,” Trump said in January. “I want Apple to make their iPhones and all of the great things that they make in the United States.”
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