China's trade surplus with U.S. hits new record in August

Trump says he’s ready to hit China with $267bn in additional tariffs

Brian Cahn Global Look Press

Trump tweeted Saturday that "Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China - but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive, " if the company made its products in the USA instead of China.

This week Apple said in a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative that tariffs will make some of its products, including the Apple Watch and Mac mini, more expensive.

China's trade surplus with the USA has, therefore, risen almost 15 percent from January to August 2018.

Apple is highly exposed to a trade war between the USA and China.

"Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China", he said in an 11:45 a.m. tweet, while he was traveling in the presidential motorcade.

Speaking just hours after the period for public reactions to the $200 billion China duties list he had set ended, Trump told reporters overseas Air Force One that he was "being strong on China because [he had] to be".

Beyond the core products, Apple said accessories like the HomePod speaker, some Beats speakers, AirPort and Time Capsule internet routers, the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, and leather cases for the iPhone, iPad, MacBook and Apple Pencil would be affected.

Apple also said that computer parts for its US operations would be hit by the tariffs.

Notably, Apple did not cite the iPhone as a product which may be impacted.

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The company said the tariffs would "show up as a tax on U.S. consumers" and "increase the cost of Apple products that our customers have come to rely on in their daily lives".

But so far China had not met the Trump administration's requests.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in July that those measures had no effect on Apple.

While the President often brags about his accomplishments via Twitter, official data shows that China's trade surplus with the United States is greater than ever.

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

The politically sensitive surplus hit US$31.05 billion in August, up from US$28.09 billion in July, customs data showed on Saturday, surpassing the previous record set in June.

"Tariffs increase the cost of our USA operations, divert our resources and disadvantage Apple foreign competitors", the company said. Apple said it was "difficult to see" how tariffs would advance the government's goal. "They're taking US$500 billion out a year", he said.

Apple generated $9.6 billion in sales in China in the fiscal third quarter, accounting for 18 percent of its total revenue in the period.

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