Trump, Apple talk held as China dispute looms

Reuters. WASHINGTON | Published at 02:15pm on June 14, 2019

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US president Donald Trump listens to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, during an American Technology Council roundtable at the White House in Washington, US, on June 19, 2017. — Reuters file photo

US president Donald Trump met with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday to discuss trade and other hot-button issues facing the tech company as Trump deliberates whether to make good on his threat to hike tariffs on imports from China.

Trump’s meeting with Cook was disclosed by daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump during an event that Trump held with governors on skills development.

Cook is a frequent visitor to the White House and has worked with Ivanka Trump on her job training and education initiatives. The president often name-checks Cook as a business leader who has brought jobs and investment back to the United States.

On Thursday, Trump spoke with Cook about ‘trade, US investment, immigration and privacy,’ White House spokesperson Judd Deere said. A spokesperson for Apple could not be immediately reached for comment.

The meeting comes as Trump weighs whether to go ahead with proposed increases to tariffs in his trade war with China. He has said he will make a decision sometime after the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan at the end of June, where he hopes to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Trump is using tariffs to push Xi to change a host of Chinese trade practices, but negotiations have flagged. Makers of consumer electronics like phones and tablets have escaped the brunt of tariffs to this point but likely would be affected by the next hike.

US authorities are also preparing to probe market power of large technology companies, according to sources. Cook has defended his company, saying it has a moderate share of the market and is not too large.