China's trade surplus with US hit new record in August

Arturo Kim
September 11, 2018

The US-China trade spat escalated on July 6 when US President Donald Trump slapped tariffs on USD 34 billion in Chinese goods, triggering a dollar-for-dollar response from Beijing.

It would also be in addition to tariffs his administration has already imposed on $50 billion in Chinese imports, for which Beijing has retaliated with an equal amount of import taxes on USA goods.

"Because all tariffs ultimately show up as a tax on United States consumers, they will increase the cost of Apple products that our customers have come to rely on in their daily lives", the company said. Last year, Apple invested $1 billion in Corning, which manufactures the glass used in screens for the iPhone, and Trump said that CEO Tim Cook committed to building "three big plants, handsome plants" in the US. "That totally changes the equation".

The proposed tariffs of up to 25% on specific products imported from China to the USA would hit "a wide range of Apple products", the company said, including its Mac mini computer, chargers, adapters, specialized manufacturing machinery and more.

On Thursday, Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and other technology companies sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging the administration to avoid imposing more tariffs.

New tariffs on China would make some Apple products more expensive. The administration already imposed duties on $50 billion of Chinese imports.

"There is still an impact from front-loading of exports, but the main reason (for still-solid export growth) is strong growth in the USA economy", said Zhang Yi, an economist at Zhonghai Shengrong Capital Management. Apple said the tariffs would raise the cost of its USA operations and put it at a disadvantage to foreign rivals.

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As trade relations between the two countries continue to get strained, Apple said in a letter to the U.S. trade representative that the move would "hurt" the company, according to CNBC report.

That would cover virtually all the goods imported from the world's second largest economy.

Computer and phone makers are involved in a global supply chain that includes Chinese manufacturing, and that can not be easily excluded without harm to USA companies, Intel said in a letter to the trade representative.

While the US-China trade-war is real, and happening, Apple wrote a letter on Friday to trade officials.

Reuters had reported that the Apple Watch was likely to be affected by the tariffs.

The tariffs are top of mind for Apple chief executive Tim Cook, who has personally lobbied Trump for months on issues of taxes and trade, even dining with the president and first lady Melania Trump at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey, last month. Intel Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and others argued in their filings that the tariffs could hamper USA competitiveness in 5G, an emerging wireless technology the White House has set up as critical to national security.

The Trump administration recently reached a deal with the government of Mexico on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, and it continues its talks with Canada towards the same goal.

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