Tech

Apple begins building its new Austin campus on the day of Trump and Cook's visit

Key Points
  • Apple announces Wednesday it will begin construction on its new Austin campus on the day of CEO Tim Cook and President Donald Trump's visit to a manufacturing plant there.
  • Apple already has a facility in Austin that assembles the Mac Pro, the only major Apple computer assembled in the U.S.
  • Cook secured some exemptions from China tariffs and later agreed to keep production of the Mac Pro in Austin.
Apple CEO Tim Cook laughs with President Donald Trump during a meeting in the White House, Washington, March 6, 2019.
Leah Millis | Reuters

Apple said it will begin construction on its new Austin, Texas, campus on Wednesday as CEO Tim Cook tours the manufacturing plant there with President Donald Trump.

Apple plans to invest $1 billion into the new campus, which is expected to open in 2022 with 5,000 employees. The campus will be 3 million square feet, with the capacity to grow to 15,000 employees. The campus will expand Apple's Austin operation, which is currently home to the plant that builds the new Mac Pro, the only major Apple computer assembled in the U.S.

The Mac Pro has been a key piece in Cook's negotiations with Trump over the China tariffs. Many Apple products are assembled in China, but Cook decided to keep Mac Pro assembly in the U.S. after Trump made clear he would not give Apple any tariff exemptions if he moved the assembly outside the U.S. Apple said it received exemptions to import parts needed for the Mac Pro without paying tariffs. The Mac Pro is not one of Apple's mass market products and is primarily aimed at professional programmers and artists who require a lot of power, with a starting price of $5,999. It goes on sale in December.

Cook has deftly navigated a nuanced relationship with the president by engaging him in private meetings and dinners while maintaining his views on policies on which he disagrees with Trump. Cook has touted continued investments in the U.S. as Trump continues his trade negotiations with China.

Apple said in Wednesday's announcement that it is on track for its goal of contributing $350 billion to the U.S. economy between 2018 and 2023 and hiring an added 20,000 employees nationwide.

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