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Apple and Fitbit are collateral damage in Trump's trade war

by on20 July 2018

Tame Apple Press shocked

The latest round of US tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods could hit the Apple Watch, health trackers, streaming music speakers and other accessories assembled in China, government rulings on tariffs show.

This is a shock to the Tame Apple Press who logically assumed that when Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump promised that Apple would be given special protection in his trade war with China he was telling the truth. Apple's favourite press office, the New York Times, has reported that Trump told Apple CEO Tim Cook during a meeting in May that the US government would not levy tariffs on iPhones assembled in China.

The rulings name Apple's Watch, several Fitbit activity trackers and connected speakers from Sonos. So far consumer technology’s biggest sellers such as mobile phones and laptops have faced little danger of import duties, but it does indicate that gadget makers are unlikely to be spared altogether and may have to consider price hikes on products that millions of consumers use daily.

The devices have all been determined by US Customs and Border Patrol officials to fall under an obscure subheading of data transmission machines in the sprawling list of US tariff codes. And that particular subheading is included in the more than 6,000 such codes in President Donald Trump’s most recent round of proposed tariffs released earlier this month.

That $200 billion list of tariffs is in a public comment period. But if the list goes into effect this fall, the products from Apple, Fitbit and Sonos could face a 10 percent tariff.

Sage Chandler, vice president for international trade policy at the Consumer Technology Association, said the way Trump has been using his trade authority are a direct example of him using his authority to target specific products and companies.

The toll from tariffs on the gadget world’s smaller product lines could be significant. Sonos and Fitbit do not break out individual product sales, but collectively they had $2.6 billion in revenue last year. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi estimates that the Apple Watch alone will bring in $9.9 billion in sales this year, though that estimate includes sales outside the United States that the tariff would not touch.


Last modified on 20 July 2018
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