The White House isn’t just dismissing technology companies’ concernsabout tariffs on China, it’s picking up the pace. Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal have learned that the Trump administration is likely to formally announce its latest tariffs on Chinese goods within the next few days (possibly as soon as September 17th). Imports for “internet technology products,” circuit boards and other electronics are still likely to become more expensive, although the tariff level is reportedly set at 10 percent, not the originally proposed 25 percent also used for earlier tariffs. The administration may have lowered the tariffs to reduce the chances that companies would instantly raise prices to make up for the higher costs.
If you were scrambling to buy the latest Apple Watch out of concern that Trump’s next round of tariffs could lead to price hikes, you can likely relax. Bloomberg sources have claimed that the new tariffs don’t affect a technology category that covers many of Apple’s products, including the Watch, AirPods, the HomePod and Beats headphones. This is also likely to exempt comparable products from other companies, such as Fitbit’s activity trackers and Sonos’ speakers, but the scoop only mentioned Apple’s by name.
It’s uncertain what would prompt the exception, although Apple had staunchly opposed the earlier proposal. It sent a letter to Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer warning that the tariffs could increase costs, raise prices and put it at a “disadvantage” to some foreign competitors. Apple chief Tim Cook dined with Trump in August, but it’s not certain if anything resulted from that meeting.