President Donald Trump will meet with Apple Inc (AAPL.O) Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to discuss trade issues on Wednesday as the technology industry grapples with a U.S. tariff spat with China, a manufacturing hub for the iPhone maker and other companies.
Apple and other hardware makers have deep ties with China, where many of their products are built for export around the world. Cook has urged an easing of tensions between the two countries and called more open trade after Trump last month announced tariffs on certain Chinese imports, and China retaliated with tariffs on some American goods.
Trump, a Republican, has had a tense relationship with the U.S. technology industry, based in Democratic strongholds such as California’s Silicon Valley and in 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, 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 levies on about $3 billion of U.S. imports. Trump then threatened $100 billion in additional tariffs.
Trump’s first round of import tariffs excluded most consumer electronics. But the second could have a more direct impact on U.S. shoppers by targeting cellphones, computers and other consumer goods and prompting price increases 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.
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