Tim CookSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • CNBC reports that Apple has hired Jeffrey Miller to lobby on its behalf over tariffs.
  • Jeffrey Miller is one of the top fundraisers for Trump's reelection campaign.
  • Apple is hoping to avoid the next round of tariffs in the U.S.-China trade war, due to take effect December.

CNBC reports that Apple has hired longtime Trump ally Jeffrey Miller as a lobbyist in order to try and avoid tariffs planned by the U.S. Government.

According to the report:

Apple has hired one of President Donald Trump's closest allies in Washington, D.C., to lobby on its behalf as it looks to avoid getting hit with another round of tariffs.

Apple, the computer and phone making juggernaut, has tapped longtime Trump ally Jeffrey Miller to lobby on its behalf, a lobbying registration form shows. The document says Apple is hiring him and his team, which includes others with ties to the Trump administration, for what's described as "trade issues as they relate to technological goods and services." It did not disclose the specific nature of Miller's role as it pertains to various trade hurdles.

The report notes that Miller's firm was registered to lobby in October, however, the disclosure was signed Thursday, November 14. There is no indication as to how much Apple is paying Miller for his services, although as CNBC notes, it is estimated to have spent more than $5.5 billion on lobbying in 2019, most of which it keeps in-house.

Apple had previously sought relief from tariffs that came into force in September on 11 of its products including HomePods and iMacs. It has also successfully gained exemption for some (but not all) of its Mac Pro components. Unless China and the U.S. can agree some sort of trade deal in the next few weeks it is likely that more tariffs may come into force as early as December.

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President Trump has previously spoken about how much respect he has for Apple CEO Tim Cook, and that he and Cook have discussed tariffs, including how it could impact Apple's competition with Samsung. We'll have to wait and see as to whether there are any developments in trade talks between the U.S. and China before we have a clearer idea as to whether we can expect to see Apple hit with any further tariffs on its products.

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