Apple says tariffs on China would injure US economy


Sun, Sep 09, 2018 - Page 16

A “wide range” of Apple Inc products, including the Apple Watch, would be affected by proposed US tariffs on Chinese goods, the company told US trade officials, without mentioning any potential effects on its cash cow, the iPhone family.

Apple does not disclose specific revenues for most of the affected products, but the Apple Watch could be the biggest seller.

It brought in about US$6.1 billion in revenue last year, according to an estimate from analyst firm Bernstein, a small portion of Apple’s US$229 billion in overall sales.

AirPods headphones, some of Apple’s Beats headphones and its new HomePod smartspeaker also face levies as part of proposed 10 percent tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods, an unsigned letter submitted by the company on Wednesday to US officials as part of a public comment period said.

“Our concern with these tariffs is that the US will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower US growth and competitiveness and higher prices for US consumers,” Apple said in the letter.

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

However, Apple said that its MacMini, a low-priced computer that comes without a keyboard or mouse, would be affected.

Many Apple accessories, such as mice, keyboards, chargers, and even leather covers for iPhones and iPads would face tariffs, Apple said.

Computer parts for its US operations would be hit by the tariffs, the company said, adding that “main logic boards with microprocessing units” could face levies, along with equipment used for research and development.

On Apple’s most recent earnings call in July, chief executive Tim Cook said that the company could face tariffs “related to data centers.”

In the letter, Apple argued that the way that US trade officials calculate the US trade balance — attributing the entire value of a product to a country such as China, in which final assembly happens — fails to reflect the true value that Apple generates in the US.

“It is difficult to see how tariffs that hurt US companies and US consumers will advance the government’s objectives with respect to China’s technology policies,” Apple said in its letter.