What you need to know

  • President Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook met for dinner last week.
  • Cook argued to Trump that the trade war will affect Apple's ability to compete with Samsung.
  • Trump hinted he may exclude Apple from upcoming tariffs.

President Donald Trump met with Apple CEO Tim Cook for dinner last Friday, where the two discussed incoming tariffs being imposed beginning September 1.

Cook was apparently very influential during their meeting (via CNBC), because Trump hinted he's now thinking about excluding Apple from the impending tariffs.

"I had a very good meeting with Tim Cook," Trump said. "I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook, and Tim was talking to me about tariffs. And one of the things, and he made a good case, is that Samsung is their number-one competitor, and Samsung is not paying tariffs because they're based in South Korea."

Trump seemingly had no clue that Samsung was such a big competitor to Apple, or even that the tariffs would have such a big effect on one of the biggest U.S. companies in the world, according to the President's comments.

"And it's tough for Apple to pay tariffs if they're competing with a very good company that's not," Trump said. "I said, 'How good a competitor?' He said they are a very good competitor. So Samsung is not paying tariffs because they're based in a different location, mostly South Korea but they're based in South Korea. And I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I'm thinking about it."

Beginning September 1, a 10 percent import tax will be in place against goods coming to the U.S., affecting products such as the Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod. Other products, such as the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, will be affected in December after the busy holiday shopping season.

If Trump doesn't exclude Apple from the tariffs, it's unclear if Apple will absorb the extra cost or pass it on to consumers. However, Trump may be having second thoughts about imposing tariffs on Apple, especially since, according to Trump, Apple will be "spending vast sums of money in the US. Great!"