Trump, Apple CEO to meet as U.S.-China trade row roils tech sector

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will meet with Apple Inc (AAPL.O) Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook on Wednesday, as the technology industry finds itself in the crosshairs of a U.S. trade spat with China, a manufacturing hub for the iPhone maker and other companies.

Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the annual session of China Development Forum (CDF) 2018 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

It was not clear what Trump and Cook planned to discuss, and representatives for Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Representatives for the White House also did not immediately reply.

Apple and other hardware makers have deep ties with China, where they build most of their products for export around the world. Cook urged calm and called for more open trade after Trump announced he would impose tariffs on certain Chinese imports, and China retaliated with tariffs on U.S. imports.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during his Oval Office meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron (not pictured) following the official arrival ceremony for Macron at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Trump has a tense relationship with the U.S. technology industry, based in Democratic strongholds such as California’s Silicon Valley and Seattle. He has clashed with the tech sector on a wide variety of issues including trade, immigration and the environment.

Cook, who attended Trump’s first state dinner at the White House on Tuesday night, has publicly objected to the president’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and criticized the U.S. president’s comments after last year’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

U.S. and Chinese officials have been working to resolve the feud between the world’s two largest economies.

Trump in March vowed to impose about $50 billion of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, prompting China to retaliate with tariffs on about $3 billion of U.S. imports. Trump then threatened $100 billion in additional levies.

To reach an additional $100 billion, a Reuters analysis found Washington may have to target cellphones, computers and other consumer goods, prompting price rises at Apple Stores and other U.S. retailers.

On Tuesday, however, Trump said there was “a very good chance” the two countries could reach a deal as a U.S. delegation prepared to head to China in a few days.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by David Gregorio



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