U.S. President Donald Trump suggested that 10 percent tariffs could be placed on mobile phones, like the iPhone, and laptops made in China, with consumers to absorb the price increase.
"Maybe. Maybe. Depends on what the rate is," the president said, referring to mobile phones and laptops. "I mean, I can make it 10 percent, and people could stand that very easily."
The statement adds pressure to Apple, which seems to be hit by lower than expected demand for its latest iPhones, with reports of suppliers cutting forecasts.
The U.S. is due to raise import duties on about $200 billion worth of goods from China to 25 percent from 10 percent on Jan. 1. The vast majority of iPhones and other Apple products are built in China and then exported globally.
The price of an iPhone ranges from $449 to $1,449 in the U.S., including older models such as the iPhone 7.
So far, Apple’s most lucrative devices, like the iPhone and iPad, have been left out of U.S. tariffs. Earlier this year, Apple said products like the Apple Watch and AirPods would be affected before the U.S. said it wouldn’t impose taxes on such items. Still, the company warned in September, that other items, like the Mac mini, Apple Pencil stylus, and some cables and cases, could be harmed.
Trump on several occasions has suggested that Apple should bring iPhone manufacturing to the U.S. Currently, the iPhones are assembled in China, with some
components, like the smartphone’s glass cover to be manufactured in the U.S.