Apple says US tariffs on China would backfire

WASHINGTON: Apple is warning the US administration that proposed tariffs on Chinese imports would be counterproductive, saying they would hurt the iPhone maker’s competitiveness and “tilt the playing field” to non-American rivals.

In comments filed this week to the US Trade Representative, Apple said the tariff proposal by President Donald Trump would hurt Apple’s ability to compete and also end up reducing the tech giant’s contributions to the US economy in taxes and investments.

The Apple comments dated June 17 noted that the company is the largest US corporate taxpayer and also is on track to invest some $350 billion in the country over five years.

“US tariffs on Apple’s products would result in a reduction of Apple’s US economic contribution,” the company said.

Additionally, the company said the plan would “weigh on Apple’s global competitiveness” and effectively boost its Chinese rivals.

“The Chinese producers we compete with in global markets do not have a significant presence in the US market, and so would not be impacted by US tariffs,” the letter said.

“Neither would our other major non-US competitors. A US tariff would, therefore, tilt the playing field in favor of our global competitors.”

The US already has 25 percent duties on more than $250 billion of imports from China.

Global markets are concerned about Trump’s threat to impose more steep tariffs on China, on an additional $300 billion in goods.

Apple, which according to some reports is considering moving some production of iPhones and other goods from China to India or other countries, said the proposed tariff list “covers all of Apple’s major products,” including iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPods and AppleTV.

Meanwhile, Apple this morning announced a “voluntary” recall of MacBook Pro batteries due to potential overheating and safety risk. The recall only applies to mid-2015 15-inch MacBook Pros with Retina displays. As the company notes in a press release, these models were primarily sold between September 2015 and February 2017.

Concerned users can see if their systems qualify for replacement by checking the Apple Menu in their system finder. The company is hosting a page where they can enter their serial number to see if it’s covered here. As the repair page notes, those systems impacted by the recall could take one to two weeks to process and send back. The recall program has no impact on the laptops’ warranties one way or the other.

The company issued a similar replacement program in April of last year for newer 13-inch Pros over issues surrounding battery expansion.

Meanwhile, Apple announced that Best Buy now offers authorized repairs on its products at each and every one of the retailer’s stores. This gives consumers an important alternative to visiting their nearest Apple store — if there even is one — for service on an iPhone or Mac. Repairs are done with genuine Apple parts and are fully backed by the company, just as if Apple had done the work itself.

Best Buy has offered Apple repairs at many locations for some time now, but the completed expansion brings that number up to nearly 1,000 stores. “Best Buy’s Geek Squad has nearly 7,600 newly Apple-certified technicians ready to make same-day iPhone repairs or to service other Apple products,” Apple said in a press release. There are Best Buy stores in neighborhoods that might not have an Apple presence, so this is a nice option to have at the ready. Most Best Buy locations have Apple showcase sections with the company’s iOS devices, MacBooks, HomePod, and other products.

At its own stores, Apple has recently been pushing to speed up keyboard repairs for its MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro laptops, promising a next-day turnaround in many cases. It’s unclear whether Best Buy has also begun replacing the third-generation butterfly keyboard with 2019’s revamped version.

For its same-day iPhone screen replacements, Best Buy recommends that customers make an appointment and drop off their device before 6PM local time. Assuming the necessary parts are in stock, you’ll get your phone back that day or can just browse around the store while you wait for the repair to be completed.