Apple warns that Trump China tariffs will mean higher prices

US President Donald Trump

A "wide range" of Apple Inc AAPL.O products including the Apple Watch would be affected by proposed USA tariffs on Chinese goods, the company told US trade officials, but gave no sign of an impact on its iPhone cash cow.

China's trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a new record US$31 billion in August despite a raft of U.S. tariffs, official data showed Saturday, adding fuel to the flames of a searing trade war.

There was no indication in the comments made by Trump on Friday as to which items would be targeted in a future round of tariffs, as most seafood products imported from China already have been slapped with higher tariffs. "Start building new plants now", Trump wrote.

Trump acknowledged in a tweet that "Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China", but suggested the issue was not with the tariffs themselves.

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The Trump administration has imposed tariffs of $50 billion on imports from China and is moving to add 25 per cent duties on another $200 billion in goods.

The public had until Thursday to comment on the administration's plan.

He said Friday that tariffs on another US$200 billion in Chinese goods are "in the hopper" and "could take place very soon".

As trade relations between the two countries continue to get strained, Apple said in a letter to the USA trade representative that the move would "hurt" the company, according to CNBC report.

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The letter did not mention the iPhone, which accounted for about two-thirds of Apple's $229 billion in revenue in its most recent fiscal year.

"Tariffs increase the cost of our USA operations, divert our resources and disadvantage Apple foreign competitors", the company said.

"We hope, instead, that you will reconsider these measures and work to find other, more effective solutions that leave the USA economy and USA consumer stronger and healthier than ever before".

It also said the MacMini computer, charging cables and equipment used in its offices and data centres could be hit by a proposed 25pc tariff on imports.

Intel Corp., the world's second-largest chip maker, weighed in supporting Apple's opposition to the tariffs and broadening the argument. "We want lower (trade) barriers across the board", Kudlow said.

China's exports to the United States rose 13.2 percent in August from a year earlier, accelerating from an 11.2 percent increase in July, the Journal reported based on its calculations from customs data.

White House Economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNBC that talks between the USA and China were ongoing.

China's trade surplus with the United States reached a record $31 billion in August, despite hefty tariffs recently imposed on Chinese goods.

"We are puzzled as to why the Administration may be using tariffs in part to re-engineer global ICT (information, communication and technology) supply chains that have served United States companies so well".

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