Apple CEO Tim Cook laughs with President Donald Trump during a White House meeting, Washington, March 6, 2019.
Leah Millis | Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook are expected to tour facilities in Texas where Apple products will be made as soon as next week to showcase companies holding jobs in America, according to two people familiar with case.
The trip, which has not yet been announced, will highlight Cook's strong relationship with Trump as he seeks further relief from Apple from US tariffs on imports from China. Tariffs are part of a protracted, face-to-face trade war between the world's largest economies.
Apple declined to comment. A White House spokeswoman said the office has no plans for announcements at this time.
In September, Apple said they would make their new Mac Pro desktops in Austin, Texas, where they had made previous models on a plant contract. The announcement came days after US trade regulators approved 1
Earlier this month, Apple also asked the Trump administration to waive tariffs on Chinese-made Apple Watches, iPhone components and other consumer products, according to filings with trade regulators.
Trump has made strengthening the US manufacturing sector one of his presidency goals, and has taken to Twitter to pressure US companies to keep jobs at home, while he has punished China for what he says is unfair trade practice by imposing hefty tariffs of billions in Chinese imports, which in turn has hurt US companies.
The visit would allow Trump to point out his strong bond with Cook, after many CEOs resigned from a 2017 business council following Trump's lenient response to violence at a meeting of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Tariff freedom for Apple came after Trump and Cook had dinner in August, and Trump said Cook "made a good case" that tariffs could harm the company against South Korean rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 005930.KS if products would not be charged the same fees.
Trump hopes to reach a partial trade agreement with China soon, but said Friday that he has not yet decided what if any tariffs can be removed as part of such an agreement.
The visit will not be Trump's first trip to the Lone Star State to show US production jobs. Last month, Trump toured at a Louis Vuitton factory in Alvarado, accompanied by his daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka and top executives from the parent group LVMH.
The appearance stirred controversy, with Louis Vuitton designer Nicolas Ghesquiere disproving Trump's visit to the factory, which is in addition to Vuitton's two US manufacturing hubs in California.