Tech

Apple stock drops on Trump tariff threat

Key Points
  • Apple stock dropped more than 2% and erased previous gains after President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the U.S. will put an additional 10% tariff on a remaining list of goods imported from China starting on September 1.
  • The company assembles iPhones in China, making it vulnerable to price increases if a tariff were to be placed on Chinese exports.
  • Apple warned in June that a previously discussed list of tariffs would affect "all of Apple's major products," although Apple could still apply for exemptions or exclusions.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, attends the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., July 10, 2019.
Brendan McDermid | REUTERS

Apple stock dropped sharply after President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the U.S. will put an additional 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of goods imported from China starting on September 1.

Apple stock was down more than 2% at one point on Thursday, erasing previous earlier gains. The Dow dropped more than 200 points on the Trump tweet. The S&P 500 was down less than 1% but had earlier gains wiped out.

The company assembles iPhones and other computers in China, making it vulnerable to price increases if a tariff were to be placed on Chinese exports, although it is unconfirmed which Apple products may be affected by the proposed tariff. Apple declined to comment.

On June 17, Apple said in a letter to U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer that a fourth proposed tariff list which covers an additional $300 billion of imports from China would cover "all of Apple's major products" and would would hurt its contribution to the U.S. economy. Apple can also apply for exemptions or exceptions for its products.

"The proposed tariff list covers all of Apple's major products, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPods, and AppleTV, as well as the parts and batteries used to repair products in the United States," Apple said in the letter. "The proposed tariffs also cover accessories that Apple makes for these devices, such as monitors and keyboards."

"We urge the U.S. Government not to impose tariffs on these products," Apple said in the letter.

"The way I view this is, the vast majority of our products are kind of made everywhere," Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this week on a call with analysts. "That's the nature of a global supply chain. Largely, I think that will carry the day in the future as well."

Apple generally opposes the U.S. tariffs, including those placed on a separate list of goods that went into effect last fall and were raised to 25% in May. That list ended up not including Apple products. Cook said last year that he personally told President Donald Trump that tariffs are the wrong approach to China.

On the analyst call this week, Cook said that Apple was investing in capacity in the United States because it wants to "make" a high-end desktop computer, the Mac Pro, domestically. However, Trump said that his administration would not grant Apple tariff exceptions on key parts from China.

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Tariffs threaten Apple's China success

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Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Apple stock was down more than 2% at one point on Thursday.