Apple seeks import tariff exemption on Mac Pro parts

The United States government has threatened to slap Chinese imports with an additional $300 billion in tariffs, which would affect Apple. In a pre-emptive move, Apple has now asked the Trump administration to exclude the new Mac Pro parts and select accessories like Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad from a 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports.

Bloomberg has the story:

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is seeking relief from duties of 25 percent on key Mac Pro parts and accessories that go with it, ranging from the stainless steel and aluminum frame, power supplies, internal cables and circuit boards, as well as its optional wheels, according to filings posted by the Office of US Trade Representative.

Although the documents don’t specifically mention the new Mac Pro, Bloomberg says the features and dimensions listed in the filing closely resemble the planned computer.

The exclusion requests from the iPhone maker were posted July 18 and are now subject to a public comment period before they’re reviewed. Some Apple products have been spared from tariffs in the past, including Apple Watch and AirPods.

Apple declined to comment on the filing.

US President Donald Trump has promised relief if companies can show that parts or products can only be obtained in China, aren’t ‘strategically important’ to Chinese industrial programs or that the duties would cause ‘severe economic harm.’ Trump has tweeted that companies won’t face a tariff if they make their goods ‘at home in the USA.’

For context, The Wall Street Journal reported about a month ago that the new “Cheese Grater” $6,000 Mac Pro will be assembled in China by Apple’s contract manufacturer Quanta Computers, with production reportedly ramping up at a factory near Shanghai.

The enclosure of the previous 2013 “Trashcan” Mac Pro model used to be manufactured in Austin, Texas by Apple’s partner Flex. As a matter of fact, the whole computer was assembled in the United States. Shifting the new Mac Pro production to China says volume about competitiveness of US manufacturing — when Apple began making the previous Mac Pro in Austin, it struggled to find a company that could produce enough screws.

Apple argues that final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process.

It says the new pro machine is designed and engineered in the US and uses US-made components. Although the firm spent $60 billion with more than 9,000 US suppliers in 2018, it so far hasn’t disclosed any plans to build new domestic manufacturing facilities.