Apple, other Silicon Valley firms imperiled by President Trump’s proposed import tariffs, Republicans’ border adjustment tax

“That shiny new iPhone may say ‘assembled in China’ on the back, but its origins are scattered around the world,” Ethan Baron writes for The San Jose Mercury News. “Now that complicated supply chain may put Apple — the world’s most valuable company — in the bull’s eye as President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans consider sweeping import tariffs or a comprehensive border tax on incoming products, components and raw materials.”

“The administration’s actions would affect a who’s who of the Bay Area’s big name tech companies — which could see sales, revenue and access to global talent take a hit from new fees and the trade wars that could follow,” Baron writes. “Only two months into the Trump administration, it’s difficult to discern how an import tariff or border tax might take shape, but the president has said he wants to punish U.S. companies that make goods overseas to sell back home. Imposing new costs on imports would encourage domestic manufacturing and create jobs, Trump has argued.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook at U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's tech roundtable in December
Apple CEO Tim Cook at U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s tech roundtable in December
“While campaigning, Trump mentioned a 45 percent import tariff on goods from China and 35 percent on imports from Mexico. More recent reports suggested the Trump transition team was looking at a 10 percent fee. House Republicans, meanwhile, have proposed a 20 percent ‘border adjustment tax’ covering all imports from all countries,” Baron writes. “The list of firms with the most to lose from an aggressive new tariff or tax regime includes the valley’s biggest names: Google, Tesla, Oracle, HP, Cisco, Intel, Seagate, Western Digital, Nvidia, Marvell Semiconductor and more.”

“Northwestern University law professor Steven Calabresi last week said the proposed 20 percent border adjustment tax would ‘encourage Americans to buy American products’ and ‘promote good jobs here in the United States’ while raising $1 trillion over 10 years,” Baron writes. “‘It will allow us to cut income taxes, which discourage people from working. It is smart to discourage a little bit of the buying of foreign goods if you can then cut income taxes and get people back into the workplace or get them to work harder,’ he said Thursday in an op-ed in The Hill.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There are so many unknown variables — corporate taxes, repatriation taxes, tariffs, domestic manufacturing incentives, etc. — that it’s impossible to know how Apple will be affected (or even if it’ll all roughly balance out).


  1. So far, President Trump’s results have been extremely poor. There has been much talk and zero execution. Speculation at this point is useless. Let’s see what happens.

    1. With President Trump, the U.S.A. has a president who has done more in three weeks than most presidents have done in an entire administration.

      After just one month in office, President Donald J. Trump had already achieved considerable results for the American people.

      Jump starting Job Creation: President Trump is looking out for American workers that Washington has left behind.

      • Signed a Presidential Memorandum ordering the United States to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and agreement
      • Hosted the CEO of Intel to announce Intel’s plan to invest $7 billion in a United States factory that will create 10,000 American jobs
      • Signed a Presidential Memorandum to clear roadblocks to construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline Signed a Presidential Memorandum declaring that the Dakota Access Pipeline serves the national interest and initiating the process to complete construction
      • Signed a Presidential Memorandum ordering that all new pipeline construction and repair work use materials and equipment from the United States
      • Signed legislation, House Joint Resolution 38, to block the burdensome Stream Protection Rule from causing further harm to the coal industry
      • Signed legislation, House Joint Resolution 41, to eliminate a costly regulation that threatened to put domestic extraction companies and their employees at an unfair disadvantage

      Saving Taxpayers Money: President Trump is fighting to save Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars.

      • Saved Americans $700 million on a new batch of F-35 fighters
      • Capped the cost of Boeing’s next-generation Air Force One fleet at millions below that which was agreed to by the Obama administration

      Restoring Public Safety: President Trump will work to reduce the threats of crime and illegal immigration to public safety.

      • Signed an Executive Order to enhance the safety and security of the United States by, among other things, constructing a wall on the southern border
      • Signed an Executive Order to make sure Federal immigration laws are faithfully enforced throughout the country and that Americans’ tax dollars do not go to jurisdictions that obstruct the enforcement of immigration laws
      • Signed an Executive Order that directs the Attorney General to develop a strategy to more effectively prosecute people who engage in crimes against law enforcement officers
      • Signed an Executive Order that establishes a task force, led by the new Attorney General, to reduce crime and restore public safety in communities across America
      • Signed an Executive Order that re-focuses the Federal Government’s energy and resources on dismantling transnational criminal organizations, such as drug cartels

      Getting Government Out of the Way: President Trump understands that excessive regulations stifle job-creation and harm our businesses.

      • Signed an Executive Order instructing Federal agencies “to minimize the burden” of the Affordable Care Act Required that for every new Federal regulation, two existing regulations be eliminated
      • Directed the Commerce Department to streamline Federal permitting processes for domestic manufacturing and to reduce regulatory burdens on domestic manufacturers
      • Signed an Executive Order expediting the environmental review and approval processes for domestic infrastructure projects

      An America First Foreign Policy: The President’s first priority is the safety and security of the American people.

      • Department of the Treasury sanctioned 25 entities and individuals involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program
      • Signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Defense to work with other Cabinet members to develop a plan to defeat ISIS
      • Called or met with more than 30 foreign leaders

      Draining the Swamp: President Trump has taken action to ensure that all members of his Administration are working for the American people.

      • Signed an Executive Order establishing new ethics commitments for all Executive branch appointees, putting in place a five-year lobbying ban and a permanent ban on lobbying for foreign governments, so appointees serve the American people instead of their own interests
      • Put in place a hiring freeze for Federal civilian employees to stop the growth of a bloated government

      Keeping His Promise to Defend the Constitution: President Trump promised a Supreme Court justice in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

      • Nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court because of his consistent record defending the Constitution

      Helping Women Succeed in Business: President Trump knows the country cannot reach its potential unless every American has a chance to prosper.

      • Launched the United States-Canada Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders

      President Trump has spent the last 30 days fulfilling promises and helping the
      American people. He’s looking forward to the many more successful months and years of action to come.

      1. Please, don’t be so humble, you can boast about the chump as much as you want but his greatest challenge will be to tie obummer’s record of keeping the country at war. Obummer’s record is 100%, he kept his nation at war for the entire duration of his presidency, the first president to do so. And the icing on the cake is that he did it by continuing a war declared by his repukkkhan predecessor, the shrub showing to the world how much war is part of the terrorist nation’s DNA (Destructive Nuclear Arsenal).

        The chump might tie that record but I doubt he can break it.

      2. Verbose lisy that does not refute the assertion that Trump has accomplished very little to date. The vast majority of the items in your list are EOs. There are a couple of tiny pieces of legislation. You might as well list all of Trump’s inane tweets as accom LISHments while you are at it.

        You may believe your own drivel (and that is truly sad). But don’t expect the reat of us to buy into your crap.

      3. With President Trump, the U.S.A. has a president who has done less in three weeks than most presidents have done as infants.

        After just one month in office, President Donald J. Trump had already achieved dubious results for the American people, having:

        * claimed credit for several activities that were already being planned/executed

        * issuing a host of Executive Orders, some of which faced rapid legal opposition on Constitutional grounds

        * Completely blew both the creation and execution of the EO on immigration and refugees, which resulted in widespread pandemonium (or, as Trump calls it, a great success)

        * Called or met with 30 or more world leaders, and immediately offended most of them

        * Threatened and attempted to bully several private companies from his position as POTUS

        * Initiated a program to destroy the environment – supposedly in the name of job creation, but actually in the name of corporate profit creation

        * Still clueless about what to do in response to the ACA. But Trump made lots of promises, including a promise that his plan would “cover everyone.” Looking forward to that…

        * Maintaining the Swamp: President Trump has taken action to ensure that all members of his Administration (and Trump’s family and his Russian friends) are positioned to take advantage of the American people

        * Trump and his staff were woefully unprepared to assume command of this country, and Trump is way behind in appointing people to hundreds of critical positions

        * Signed an Executive Order establishing new ethics commitments for all Executive branch appointees – does it apply to Trump??

        • Put in place a hiring freeze for Federal civilian employees which will gradually begin to disrupt the operation of critical government operations

        * Keeping His Promise to Offend the Constitution

        * Helping Women Succeed in Business – presumably modeling and pageants and the ability to avoid screaming in rage when assaulted by groping from slimy, wealthy, older white guys

        President Trump has spent the last 30 days bloviating and tweeting and failing to accomplish much of anything of consequence. He’s looking forward to the many more successful days of action to come before he resigns in disgrace in the face of impending impeachment proceedings.

        Trump *will* go down as the worst POTUS in modern history.

        1. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

          I would love Trump to achieve great things, but he seems determined to spout defensive untruths, trust crony’s instead of experts (most of the time), and poorly manage appearances vs developing clear plans for anything.

          1. i love the way he plays rough. i love the way he picks everyones cage up and shakes it till they all get seasick and vomit ..till they say things they’d never say …do things they’d never do …totally betray themselves to be the washington worms we all find so spineless and loathsome.

      4. Every single day Trump displays the temperment of a petulant child. No matter how many Executive Orders a petulant child releases and no matter how many tweets per day Trump bleats out at his perceived enemies will ever persuade Americans to follow him. Trump is a RINO and he doesn’t have his party’s support. Nothing Trump pledged is going to get done since Ryan has chosen to embark on a year of negotiations in an attempt to rewrite the ACA.

        As the Washington Post observed, “Trump’s young presidency has existed in a perpetual state of chaos. The issue of Russia has distracted from what was meant to be his most triumphant moment: his address last Tuesday to a joint session of Congress. And now his latest unfounded accusation – that Barack Obama tapped Trump’s phones during last fall’s campaign – had been denied by the former president and doubted by both allies and fellow Republicans.”

        Chaos is what happens when you have an immature vindictive asshole who doesn’t read bleating out tweets in response to whatever paranoid delusions Bannon feeds him.

    2. Let’s just focus on the merits of the proposal, as they affect Apple, without Trump-bashing or -cheering:

      Many of the components of an iPhone are manufactured in the U.S., then exported for the next step in fabrication, then shipped back into the U.S. for the final step before being shipped to China for assembly of the device. Similarly, many American cars include parts that have been shipped in and out of the U.S. as many as seven times before final assembly (whether that occurs in Michigan, Ontario, Jalisco, or somewhere else).

      If every one of those import steps carries a 10 to 45% tax, the price of the final product could double. Even that assumes that the other country concerned does not impose an equivalent tax on imports from the U.S. in retaliation and to protect its own industries. That is a near certainty.

      As posters here repeatedly assert, taxes are never paid by the business that is nominally taxed. They are paid by the customers of that company in increased prices. Rising prices don’t have a significant impact on consumers if incomes rise at the same rate. In this case, however, any increased production within America would be in automated factories that will employ very few individuals who are not already employed.

      Wages would not rise. Just prices. Sales of the most expensive items, like iPhones, would be hit much more severely than cheaper items, like Android phones. That cannot be good for Apple, even if other changes in tax policy are helpful.

      1. “shipped in and out of the U.S. as many as seven times”

        Imagine the Bureaucracy needed to run this, to vet all the shipments and keep track of them.

        (I’m non partisan except for being an appal investor, but I have to wonder all the tax money needed to run this screening. Not to mention delays — warehousing stuff is VERY expensive — and extra staff on the manufacturer’s side, all of the cost will be in addition to the extra tax and passed to the consumer).

        Not only that EXPORTS as TXuser mentions will be hurt as other countries will enact tariffs of their own.

      2. I was the fourth person to post, with a plea to remain on-topic. Five hours later, only about six out of 27 posts are responsive to the article. The imposition of import taxes is an issue that has merits or demerits of its own quite apart from who within the Administration or Congress might support it. Is it even possible to have a discussion of public policy in this country any more without it being hijacked by the discussion of personalities?

  2. I wonder if it’s not just Apple one should worry about. China provides components and manufactures such a lot. Look at your shoes. Made in China. Look at your clothes. Made in China. Look at your phone. Made in China. Look at your PC. Made in China. The list goes on. Do you think Americans are going to pay up an extra 50% of their earnings. Do you think China might retaliated by closing down the worlds biggest export market for American goods? This is not going to get out of the starting blocks.

  3. Some thing got profoundly out of whack (politically) in America. For decades, standard Republican platform was traditionally business-oriented: no artificial barriers, low taxation, no tariffs, as little regulation as possible.

    Under the usual binary political climate in Washington, you’d have Democrats trying to impose tariffs on foreign competitors in order to protect domestic labour, and Republicans vocally opposing them.

    I’m not sure who is who in America anymore. Strange place, no doubt.

    1. Both corrupt parties are owned by Wall St., and Wall St. Does not care about anything but profits. Maximizing profits has nothing to do with published tax rates. It is simply a game of moving money, minimizing labor costs, and making the taxpayers pay for all the externalities.

      Globalism isn’t the problem. Profiteers like Trump are. what does it accomplish to lock Americans inside a wall and jack up consumer prices via government intervention on free trade while giving Wall St. free reign to keep raping labor and the planet? Do you think any American is going to accept air quality as shitty as it is in urban China? Polluted lakes that cannot be used for recreation or drinking? Wages on par with asian sweatshops? this is exactly what Wall St. demands that corporations do. And the Trump cabinet is full of swamp slime. You think Trump is going to be successful implementing trade barriers & lower wages i.e. economic slavery for the disenfranchised coal miners and factory workers in the USA? Not great and not likely. If anyone in this administration had a clue, they would double down on education and emulate Germany’s full employment model. Which includes room for immigrants, by the way.

  4. The author is seriously delusional to think that it would be “impossible to know how Apple would be affected…” by a border tax.
    Go read up on on what happened after Smoot-Hawley act was passed.

    1. You are misquoting (via truncation) MacDailyNews and then taking that snippet out of context. Where do you work, MSNBC?

      Full quote (bold emphasis added): There are so many unknown variables — corporate taxes, repatriation taxes, tariffs, domestic manufacturing incentives, etc. — that it’s impossible to know how Apple will be affected (or even if it’ll all roughly balance out).

  5. All manufacturers in the USA will be hit by import tariffs. I say pass the full cost to the US consumer, so products in the US cost double that of the same one in Europe. Then see how the people will complain to Trump.

  6. Can we please, PLEASE impeach the Orange One? He doesn’t seem to know what he is doing, and Apple could easily be screwed over by his autistic trade deals. (Yes, I can say that as I’m autistic myself. Don’t be triggered now.) Something MUST be done about Trump, and soon!

    1. Why are you here? Apple is a globalist power. All corporations of the USA are globalists. Anyone who speaks more than one language is a global citizen. Since day one, the founding fathers set up the USA to be an open trading nation. Arguably most of what you own, including the computer you are looking at right now, was created via the collaboration of people all around the globe. You seem to be the only idiot who doesn’t have a clue how good globalization is when implemented properly. If you don’t like how corporations exploit foreign labor to make your Apple gear cheaply, then stop buying it.

      1. Look stupid, no one has any problem with global trade…it has been going on since the Spice Routes…what I have a problem with is globalist government, I am adamantly opposed to the destruction of American sovereignty…when that goes, so does the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. If you prefer being governed by unelected bankers, move the fück to lack the common decency or intelligence to be an American.

  7. Regardless of opinion on Trump, tariffs are a bad idea. History has proven this. And effecting it as an “import tax” is twice as bad: the negative effect of a tariff while forcing us to pay it. Still, at this time it is floated verbiage. I am hoping this ridiculous idea gets jettisoned soon.

    1. “History has proven this…”

      oh yeah? From 1789 until 1913 the Federal government was financed primarily from tariffs on foreign goods, this had two wonderful effects:
      • Protected American workers and their market.
      • Kept the Federal government small.

      then, the “Great Solution” came along: The 1913 Federal Income Tax.

      1. Tariffs

        The Chinese government imposes high tariffs upon many American products. The report states:

        “China still maintains high duties on some [American] products that compete with sensitive domestic industries. For example, the tariff on large motorcycles is 30 percent. Likewise, most video, digital video, and audio recorders and players still face duties of approximately 30 percent. Raisins face duties of 35 percent. “

      2. The United States before WWI was not considered a “major power”. We were small potatoes as a tradin[[]]]][‘ power. In other words, no one gave shit at what we did. We aren’t that anymore.

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