President Trump on Sunday told reporters that Apple CEO Tim Cook privately made a "very compelling argument" that the administration's Chinese-assembled tariffs have had an unfair impact on the California-based tech giant because the main rival , Samsung, has run most of its production in South Korea and did not have to pay the fee.
The president also gave a stern warning to China, saying that the government might not end the trade war if the government tempts "violence" to crush protesters in Hong Kong.
Trump announced last week that he would postpone major new tariffs on China for three months, and his latest comments suggested that more concessions might be coming. The new 1
In May, Trump increased tariffs on about $ 200 billion in Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent, but later nixed steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico. In June, China hiked its current tariff rates to the United States by more than 15 percent.
"I had a very good meeting with Tim Cook," said Trump at a New Jersey airport on his way back to the White House . "I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook, and Tim talked to me about tariffs. And one of the things, and he did a good thing, is that Samsung is their competitor, and Samsung doesn't pay tariffs because they're based in South Korea. "
Trump continued :" It is tough for Apple to pay tariffs if they compete with a very good company that is not. I said, & # 39; How good is a competitor? & # 39 He said they are a very good competitor … I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I think about it. "
Earlier in the day, Trump had heard a note of optimism toward China, tweeting , "We are very good with China and talking!"
The Trump administration and some prominent Democrats have long said that China is engaged in unfair trade practices, including theft of US intellectual property. The office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said that state-sanctioned Chinese IP theft could cost US companies between $ 225 and $ 600 billion annually.
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At the airport, the president took a tougher stance than he did on social media. He warned that a trade deal would not be possible if the Chinese government used force to defeat protesters in Hong Kong, which has largely protested an extradition proposal proposed by the Hong Kong government that would allow certain expansions to mainland China.  "I think it would be very difficult to deal with if they were committing violence, I mean, if there is another heaven of peace," Trump said. "I find it very difficult to do if there is violence."
The President also rejected weekend reports that the United States was open to doing business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei. In June, the United States placed the company in an export blacklist citing national security concerns, amid concerns that it was working on Chinese spy networks.
Reuters and The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House planned to announce on Monday a 90-day extension to a license that allows Huawei to provide services to US customers. The temporary extension would be intended to allow the company to fulfill orders placed before the blacklist went into effect.
"I don't want to do business at all because it is a threat to national security," Trump told reporters. "We'll see what happens. I'll make a decision tomorrow."
These comments echoed Trump's comments in the White House last week.
"We're not going to do business with Huawei," Trump said at the time. "And I really made the decision. It's much easier to not do any business with Huawei. … It doesn't mean we won't agree on anything if and when we do a trade deal."
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The President's messages have not always been consistent in the matter. In June, after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump had hinted that "we will continue to sell" to Huawei, asking administration officials to back the proposal.
Throughout, Apple has focused its political capital on preserving profit margins. In June, the company wrote to Lighthizer, the US trade representative, urging the administration not to focus on customs duties against China.
"The proposed customs list covers all of Apple's key products, including the iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPods and AppleTV, as well as the parts and batteries used to repair products in the United States," Apple said.
"US tariffs on Apple products would result in a reduction in Apple's US financial contribution, the company continued." Tariffs will also weigh on Apple's global competitiveness. The Chinese manufacturers we compete with in global markets do not have a significant presence in the US market and therefore will not be affected by US tariffs. "
Apple did not immediately respond to Fox News & # 39; s comment late Sunday. A public news release Thursday, ahead of Cook's dinner with Trump, highlighted Apple's growing investments in the US economy.
" A significant amount of Apple's jobs in the United States are found in the booming app economy, which is Apple is currently responsible for 1.9 million US jobs – an increase of 325,000 over the past two and a half years, "Apple wrote in its release.  The company noted that it directly "employs 90,000 employees in all 50 states, and put the company on track to create 20,000 new jobs in the United States by 2023."
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For his part, Trump seemed receptive to the overtime even before his last face – with Apple's CEO.  "Dinner tonight with Apple's Tim Cook. They'll spend huge sums in the US. G Trump tweeted Friday night from Bedminster, New Jersey, where the two also had dinner in August.