Trump's China tariffs could hit Apple's AirPods and Apple Watch next

Apple’s AirPods may end up in the center of Trump’s trade fights.


Sarah Tew/CNET

President Donald Trump’s trade war with China has already hit farmers so hard the country’s giving out billions in bailouts to help cover losses from unsold goods. Now, the electronics industry may be the next to feel the pinch.

A new round of tariffs on Chinese imports are set to go into effect Sept. 1, raising prices on some electronics by 10%. That, according to Reuters, may include Apple’s popular AirPods and Apple Watch, which together are estimated to represent multibillion dollar businesses in their own rights.

The administration said Tuesday it will be delaying tariffs for other popular tech products such as laptops and cellphones to Dec. 15. Trump had initially planned to hit tech products with tariffs last year, but delayed that move amid industry opposition.

Apple was among the companies that sent letters to the US Trade Representative asking for an exemption at that time, arguing “because all tariffs ultimately show up as a tax on US consumers, they will increase the cost of Apple products that our customers have come to rely on in their daily lives.”

Trump meanwhile has called for Apple to build its devices in the US. Apple does the majority of its research and development in the US, but assembles the bulk of its devices overseas.

Apple and the White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 

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Ian Sherr

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