Trump’s Visit to Apple Factory Brings Possibility of More Tariff Relief

President Donald Trump’s visit this week to a Texas manufacturing plant highlights the ongoing dance between the iPhone maker and the Trump administration over China and tariffs.The visit came as the U.S. is set Dec. 15 to raise new tariffs on imports from China, as part of its trade war with Beijing.Among U.S. technology companies, Apple has much at risk since many of its products, including the iPhone, Apple Watch and the iPad, are made in China.Two economiesThe economies of China and Silicon Valley are knitted together in complicated ways. Chinese factories make Apple products from components that come from the U.S. But Chinese factories also make some of the components for Apple’s Mac Pro, which has been made in the U.S. for years.The trade war between Washington and Beijing has put pressure on these cross-border supply chains.In July, Trump said no to Apple’s request for tariff waivers.Apple will not be given Tariff waiver, or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China. Make them in the USA, no Tariffs!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2019But in September, the administration granted 10 waivers for those parts. In response, Apple said its Mac Pro would continue to be made in Texas by a firm called Flex.“I think the conversation about perhaps exempting Apple from these tariffs is a recognition that in fact that tariffs can differentially impact in a negative way various U.S. companies,” Sean Randolph, senior director at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, said. “And if it’s a flagship company like Apple with a global brand, that becomes an issue.”WATCH: Trump’s Visit to Apple Factory Brings Possibility of More Tariff Relief
Trump’s Visit to Apple Factory Brings Possibility of More Tariff Relief video player.
Embed” />Copy LinkHighlighting US manufacturingFlash forward to the photo opportunity this week in Texas. With Apple CEO Tim Cook by his side, Trump toured the plant and received a plate that said “Assembled in the USA.”Referring to Cook, Trump said, “The nice part here is he doesn’t have to worry about tariffs. Because when you build in the United States, you don’t have to worry about tariffs.”During the visit, Trump appeared to take credit for the manufacturing plant. Later, he incorrectly tweeted that he had opened “a major Apple Manufacturing plant,” at the same time taking a jab at the Democrats, which was also false.Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America. Today Nancy Pelosi closed Congress because she doesn’t care about American Workers!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2019More tariff waivers ahead?Trump said he was looking at more possible waivers for Apple, which competes with Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant.“The problem we have is you have Samsung, it’s a great company, but it’s a competitor of Apple,” he said. “And it’s not fair because we have a trade deal, we made a great trade deal with South Korea. But we have to treat Apple in a somewhat similar basis as we treat Samsung.”It remains to be seen how the Trump administration uses tariffs to not only pressure China but also U.S. companies.

your ad here

more

US Army Examines TikTok Security Concerns

The U.S. Army is undertaking a security assessment of China-owned social media platform TikTok after a Democratic lawmaker raised national security concerns over the app’s handling of user data, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Thursday.Speaking to reporters at an event at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, McCarthy said he ordered the assessment after the top Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer, asked him to investigate the possible risks in the military’s use of the popular video app for recruiting American teenagers.“National security experts have raised concerns about TikTok’s collection and handling of user data, including user content and communications, IP addresses, location-related data, metadata, and other sensitive personal information,” Schumer wrote in a Nov. 7 letter to McCarthy.Schumer said he was especially concerned about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”Tik Tok logo is displayed on the smartphone while standing on the U.S. flag in this illustration picture taken, Nov. 8, 2019.The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has launched a national security review of TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co.’s $1 billion acquisition of U.S. social media app Musical.ly.TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The company has previously emphasized its independence from China but has failed to assuage congressional concerns about the security of the personal data of U.S. citizens who use the platform and whether content on the platform is subject to any censorship from Beijing.In a Nov. 5 blog post, TikTok’s U.S. general manager, Vanessa Pappas, said that the company’s data centers “are located entirely outside of China.” She said U.S. user data is stored in the United States, with backup redundancy in Singapore.ByteDance is one of China’s fastest-growing startups. About 60% of TikTok’s 26.5 million monthly active users in the United States are between the ages of 16 and 24, the company said this year.Earlier this year, Schumer also called on the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a national security and privacy investigation into FaceApp, a face-editing photo app developed in Russia.The potential for the sharing of army information through the use of apps was highlighted after researchers found in 2018 that fitness-tracking app Strava was inadvertently exposing military posts and other sensitive sites.In 2017, the Army ordered its members to stop using drones made by Chinese manufacturer SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd because of “cyber vulnerabilities” in the products.

your ad here

more

Tesla Enters Pickup Truck Market with Electric Model

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is taking on the workhorse heavy pickup truck market with his latest electric vehicle.The “cybertruck,” an electric pickup truck, will be in production in 2021, Musk said at the Los Angeles Auto Show Thursday.The pickup, which Musk said will cost $39,900 and up, will have an estimated battery range of more than 500 miles.With the launch, Tesla is edging into the most profitable corner of the U.S. auto market, where buyers tend to have fierce brand loyalty.Brand-loyal buyersMany pickup buyers stick with the same brand for life, choosing a truck based on what their mom or dad drove or what they decided was the toughest model, said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.“They’re very much creatures of habit,” Gordon said. Getting a loyal Ford F-150 buyer to consider switching to another brand such as a Chevy Silverado, “it’s like asking him to leave his family,” he said.Tesla’s pickup is more likely to appeal to weekend warriors who want an electric vehicle that can handle some outdoor adventure. And it could end up cutting into Tesla’s electric vehicle sedan sales instead of winning over traditional pickup truck drivers.“The needs-based truck buyer, the haulers, the towers at the worksites of the world, that’s going to be a much tougher sell,” said Akshay Anand, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book.However, it will help Musk fill out his portfolio and offer a broader range of electric vehicles.“Elon Musk is trying to not be one-dimensional when it comes to automotive,” said Alyssa Altman, transportation lead at digital consultancy Publicis Sapient. “He doesn’t want to look like he only has a small selection. He wants to build a brand with a diverse offering and in doing that he wants to see where he could enter in the market.”Electric truck competitionMusk stands to face competition when his truck hits the market. Ford, which has long dominated the pickup landscape, plans to launch an all-electric F-150 pickup. General Motors CEO Mary Barra said that its battery-electric pickup will come out by the fall of 2021.Rivian, a startup based near Detroit, plans to begin production in the second half of 2020 on an electric pickup that starts at $69,000 and has a battery range of 400-plus miles (643.7-kilometers). The Rivian truck will be able to tow 11,000 pounds (4,989.5 kilograms), go from zero to 60 mph (96.6 kph) in three seconds and wade into 3 feet (0.91 meters) of water, the company said. Ford said in April it would invest $500 million in Rivian.Tesla has struggled to meet delivery targets for its sedans, and some fear the new vehicle will shift the company’s attention away from the goal of more consistently meeting its targets.“We have yet to see Tesla really make good on some of the very tight deadlines they imposed on themselves, and this has the added challenge of having architecture that is going to be challenging because we haven’t seen an EV pickup before,” said Jeremy Acevedo, manager of industry analysis at Edmunds.

your ad here

more

Trump Administration OKs Microsoft License to Send Software to Huawei

Microsoft Corp said Thursday it had been granted a license from the U.S. government to export software to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.“On November 20, the U.S. Department of Commerce granted Microsoft’s request for a license to export mass-market software to Huawei. We appreciate the department’s action in response to our request,” a Microsoft spokesman told Reuters via email.The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday gave Huawei its second reprieve this week, allowing some suppliers to restart sales to the Chinese telecoms giant after it was placed on a trade blacklist over national security concerns six months ago.US issuing licensesThe Commerce Department confirmed it had begun issuing licenses for some companies to sell goods to Huawei, expanding the company’s supplier base and providing long-awaited clarity to the industry that once sold it billions of dollars’ worth of goods.On Wednesday, a U.S. official said it had received roughly 300 license requests, about half of which had been processed. Roughly half of those, or one-quarter of the total, had been approved and the rest denied.It was not immediately clear which products had been approved for sale to the world’s top telecommunications equipment maker, which is also the world’s second-largest smartphone maker. A person familiar with the process said Wednesday that some licenses for sales of cellphone components and non-electronic components were approved.Huawei has been anxiously awaiting a license for Alphabet Inc’s Google to supply its mobile services to new models. Without access to Google services such as its Play Store for apps, Huawei phones will become harder to sell to consumers outside of China. Google declined to comment Thursday.Senators opposed to licensesThe granting of licenses comes as the Trump administration is working to sign a phase one trade deal with China to end a tit-for-tat trade war that has roiled markets and hit global growth.But the move immediately met with opposition. A bipartisan group of 15 senators urged the Commerce Department to suspend issuing licenses to U.S. firms that conduct business with Huawei, saying it could threaten U.S. security.In a letter Thursday to President Donald Trump, the senators said the administration should halt issuing licenses until the administration provides Congress “a report outlining specific criteria for determining whether or not the approval of any license poses a national security threat.”

your ad here

more

Trump Says He Asked Apple’s Cook to Look Into Helping Build 5G in US

U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Thursday morning he had asked Apple CEO Tim Cook to look into helping develop telecommunications infrastructure for speedy 5G wireless networks.During my visit yesterday to Austin, Texas, for the startup of the new Mac Pro, & the discussion of a new one $billion campus, also in Texas, I asked Tim Cook to see if he could get Apple involved in building 5G in the U.S. They have it all – Money, Technology, Vision & Cook!l— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2019During his visit to a Texas plant on Wednesday, Trump met with Cook and asked “to see if he could get Apple involved in
building 5G in the U.S.  They have it all – Money, Technology, Vision & Cook!” Trump wrote in a tweet.Apple is not known to have made any investments in 5G telecoms infrastructure to date and is yet to release a 5G
device.  The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump met Cook on Wednesday during his visit to Apple’s upcoming campus in Texas, in the latest sign of a close
relationship between two of America’s most powerful men. This is not the first time Trump has used his Twitter
account to address Cook. In one of his latest tweets, Trump, who uses a government-issued iPhone, lamented the loss of the home button on some iPhone models because it forced users to swipe upward, rather than tap a button to unlock the phone.5G race
Trump has earlier said that the United States intended to deploy 5G services rapidly and plans to cooperate with
“like-minded nations” to promote security in next-generation 5G networks.
5G networks will offer data speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than the current 4G networks, and serve as critical
infrastructure for a range of industries. Mobile operators have to upgrade their networks with 5G gear
made by the likes of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp, Sweden’s Ericsson and
Finland’s Nokia Oyj.
The United States has been pressing nations not to grant Huawei access to future 5G networks and alleged Huawei’s
equipment could be used by Beijing for spying, which the Chinese company has repeatedly denied.
The U.S. Congress has been considering legislation to authorize up to $1 billion for small and rural wireless
providers to replace network equipment from companies such as Huawei.
Among U.S. firms, Qualcomm Inc is the dominant player in radio chips that help mobiles connect to networks and
Cisco Systems Inc that makes networking gear. Some of Apple’s rivals in the smartphone market – notably
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd – have already released
5G devices.
Apple, which is expected to release its first 5G phones in 2020, will be able to beat Samsung and Huawei to capture the top
spot by the end of next year, according to research firm
Strategy Analytics.Many carriers that are investing heavily to build 5G networks are also likely to put their marketing efforts behind 5G phones. 

your ad here

more

Trump Considering Whether Apple Should be Exempt From China Tariffs   

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday after touring a plant that assembles Apple Inc computers that he was considering whether to exempt the U.S. company from tariffs on imports from China.”We’re looking at that,” Trump said in answer to a reporter’s question about the tariffs, after touring a plant in Austin, Texas, with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook that assembles the company’s Mac Pro desktop computers.Cook, who has a strong relationship with Trump, has sought relief for Apple from the U.S. tariffs, which are part of a months-long tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s largest economies.”The problem we have is you have Samsung. It’s a great company but it’s a competitor of Apple, and it’s not fair if, because we have a trade deal with Korea — we made a great trade deal with South Korea — but we have to treat Apple on a somewhat similar basis as we treat Samsung,” Trump said.Apple announced in September it would make its new Mac Pro computers in Austin. The announcement came days after U.S. trade regulators approved 10 out of 15 requests for tariff exemptions filed by Apple amid a broader reprieve on levies on computer parts.Earlier this month, Apple also asked the Trump administration to waive tariffs on Chinese-made Apple Watches, iPhone components and other consumer products.Trump has made boosting the U.S. manufacturing sector one of the goals of his presidency, taking to Twitter to pressure U.S. companies into keeping jobs at home.Earlier on Wednesday, Apple said it had started construction of a new campus in Austin that will employ 5,000 workers, with the capacity to grow to 15,000. It is expected to open in 2022.  

your ad here

more