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Apple facing Trump's ire after saying its products would be hurt by tariffs

Washington

PRESIDENT Donald Trump on Saturday took aim at Apple after the tech giant said the White House's proposed tariffs on China could result in price increases on popular consumer devices such as AirPods, the company's wireless headphones, and the Apple Watch.

In a tweet, Mr Trump said that there was an "easy solution" to Apple's potential woes that also came with a tax break: "Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now. Exciting!"

Apple declined comment.

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Earlier last week, Apple said in a regulatory filing that the president's proposed US$200 billion in fresh tariffs on China would cover "a wide range of Apple products", from its Mac Mini computer to cables, chargers and laptop cases.

"Our concern with these tariffs is that the US will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower US growth and competitiveness and higher prices for US consumers," the company said.

Since then, though, Mr Trump has threatened an additional US$267 billion of tariffs on China, a move revealed on Friday that could cover virtually all Chinese-made goods entering the US.

The tariffs are top of mind for Apple chief executive Tim Cook, who has personally lobbied Mr Trump for months on issues of taxes and trade, even dining with the president and first lady Melania Trump at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey, last month.

Mr Cook's personal diplomacy stands in stark contrast to some of his peers in the tech industry, who have not engaged Mr Trump directly - and are often on the receiving end of far more aggressive tweets attacking their business practices.

Mr Trump previously claimed that Apple is building new plants in the US, but the iPhone maker has not announced any such plans. WP