Trump says Apple can avoid tariffs by shifting production to US

Trump has been locked in a trade dispute with Beijing over China's policy of forcing United States companies to hand over trade secrets, as a price of doing business in China.

Members of the public had until Thursday to comment on the administration's plan to slap tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods, ranging from bicycles and baseball gloves to digital cameras, paving the way for Trump to announce the tariffs as early as Friday.

The $1 trillion tech giant issued a letter Friday saying that the levies could increase consumer prices of products like the Apple Watch and Mac Mini.

"Our concern with these tariffs is that the USA will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower U.S. growth and competitiveness and higher prices for United States consumers", the company said.

Mobile phones, the biggest United States import from China, have so far been spared, but would be engulfed if Trump activates the $US267 billion tariff list. "We hope, instead, that you will reconsider these measures and work to find other, more effective solutions that leave the USA economy and USA consumer stronger and healthier than ever before". In January, the company also announced its "direct contribution" to the US economy through investments and other spending would exceed $350 billion over the next five years, while it would establish a new Apple campus to house technical support for customers.

Trump has boasted that trade wars are "easy to win" and warned he would hit virtually all Chinese imports if Beijing does not back down and take steps to reduce its $335 billion surplus with the US.

Chinese exports to the United States rose to $44.4 billion in August, a 13.2% increase from the same period previous year, according to customs data.

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Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in July that those measures had no effect on Apple.

Professor Yu Miaojie, deputy dean of Peking University's National School of Development, also felt that tariffs on US$267 billion of Chinese goods would be quite unlikely.

In addition, the chip industry is a source of trade surplus for the U.S., including with China, Intel argued.

The value of the Chinese yuan has dropped as the trade war with the United States has escalated.

"But we've taxed them US$50 billion - that's on technology".

The letter did not mention the iPhone, which accounted for about two-thirds of Apple's $229 billion in revenue in its most recent fiscal year.

"China, right now, is a far bigger problem", Trump said.

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