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Trump Wants Apple to Avoid its Tariffs by Moving Production to US

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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Top apps using Siri Shortcuts to make daily tasks easier: Apple. Pixabay
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President Donald Trump concedes that some Apple Inc. products may become more expensive if his administration imposes “massive” additional tariffs on Chinese-made goods, but he says the tech company can fix the problem by moving production to the U.S.

“Start building new plants now. Exciting!” Trump said Saturday in a tweet aimed at the Cupertino, California, company.

This week, Apple said that a proposed additional round of tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports would raise prices on some of its products, including the Apple Watch and the Mac mini.

The company is highly exposed to a trade war between the U.S. and China. It makes many of its products for the U.S. market in China, and it also sells gadgets including the iPhone in China, making them a potential target for Chinese retaliation against the Trump tariffs.

Apple
Customers look at iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus phones at an Apple Store in San Francisco, California, Sept. 22, 2017. (VOA)

Trump tweeted Saturday that “Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China — but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive,” if the company made its products in the U.S. instead of China.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has not announced plans to move manufacturing from China to the U.S.

‘Tax on U.S. consumers’

In its letter this week to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Apple said that “because all tariffs ultimately show up as a tax on U.S. consumers, they will increase the cost of Apple products that our customers have come to rely on in their daily lives.”

The company said tariffs would hit “a wide range of Apple products,” including computers, watches, adapters, chargers and tools used in its U.S. manufacturing, repair and data centers. Apple said the tariffs would raise the cost of its U.S. operations and put it at a disadvantage to foreign rivals.

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump.

The White House has accused China of stealing U.S. intellectual property and forcing American companies to share their technology with Chinese companies. The tariffs would pressure China to stop that behavior, the administration has said. Apple said “it is difficult to see” how tariffs would advance the government’s goal.

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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The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports from China, mostly equipment and material used by manufacturers. CEO Tim Cook said in July that those measures had no effect on Apple. The company is concerned, however, about the Trump administration’s proposal to add 25 percent duties on another $200 billion in Chinese goods, including a wider assortment of consumer-related items. (VOA)

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Apple Appoints Ashish Chowdhary as its India Operation Head

Apple is currently assembling iPhone 6S in India with its partner Wistron

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Apple appoints Nokia veteran Ashish Chowdhary to lead India operations. Flickr Commons

In a fillip to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s big future plans for the Indian market, Apple has appointed Ashish Chowdhary, Chief Customer Operations Officer at Nokia Networks, as its India operation head, reliable industry sources told IANS on Tuesday.

Chowdhary will join as Apple India head from January next year, the sources confirmed.

The decision to hire Chowdhary is a testament to the fact that Apple is aiming for a really long-term growth in a price-sensitive market where Apple is an aspirational brand and usually bought by those who have high spending power or can go for older generation phones for affordability.

In line with the development, Nokia also announced on Tuesday changes in the composition of its group leadership team, declaring that Chowdhary will “leave Nokia at the end of 2018 after 15 successful years.”

“Chowdhary will continue to lead Customer Operations and remain a member of the Nokia Group Leadership Team until the end of 2018. He will then leave Nokia to take a leadership position in another company,” said Nokia.

According to industry sources, Apple has roped in Chowdhary — who has a sound global as well as local knowledge of the industry — to get a bigger slice of a market that has nearly 450 million users and is one of the fastest growing, after China and the US.

Apple India is currently under Michel Coulomb who took over from Sanjay Kaul in December last year.

Chowdhary has 25 years of international experience in the enterprise and telecom sectors. As Chief Business Officer, he was responsible for Nokia Networks’ sales and operations globally.

He has held various leadership positions, including Head of Asia Middle East and Africa and prior to that, Head of Global Services Business Unit.

Both these units contributed nearly half of the company’s revenues and were key to the successful transformation of Nokia.

Apple
An Apple store in Woodbridge, Virginia. (VOA)

The appointment comes at a time when the iPhone maker is seeking tax relief and other incentives from the government to begin assembling more handsets in the country and its proposal to set up a manufacturing unit is also being evaluated.

Breaking his silence on Apple’s India presence, CEO Tim Cook admitted on November 1 that his business was flat in the country in the fourth quarter amid weak currency trends.

Cook, however, stressed he is still a big believer in the Indian middle class.

The Apple CEO also said that he has had really great productive discussions with the Indian government.

“We’ve had really great productive discussions with the Indian government, and I fully expect that at some point, they will agree to allow us to bring our stores into the country,” Cook responded to a question during the analysts’ call.

Apple is currently assembling iPhone 6S in India with its partner Wistron.

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“I am a big believer in India. I am very bullish on the country and the people and our ability to do well there,” Cook said.

Cook is also aware of the tremendous growth opportunity in India.

“There’s a huge number of people that will move into the middle class. The government has really focused on reform in a major way and made some very bold moves.

“I applaud them for doing that and I can’t wait for the future there,” Cook told the analysts over call. (IANS)