“As the Trump administration sends signals about a potential trade deal with Beijing, one iconic American company is poised to emerge from the bruising conflict in a better position than most: Apple,” Steven Overly, Margaret Harding McGill, and Celia Chen write for Politico. “Under CEO Tim Cook, Apple has kept its China-manufactured iPhones off the list of Chinese imports that Trump has slapped with roughly $250 billion in tariffs. That puts the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics giant in an enviable position compared with other sectors caught in the crossfire — thanks in part to efforts by the soft-spoken, 58-year-old Cook to cultivate leaders in both countries.”

“‘Among the tech titans, he’s probably the one who is best placed to deal with both sides at the same time,’ said James Lewis, a former State and Commerce department official who dealt with China trade issues and now directs the technology policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies,” Overly, McGill, and Chen write. “Apple, he said, is respected in the U.S. as one of the country’s most valuable companies, and is viewed in China as being more ‘impartial’ and ‘independent’ than other American firms.”

“Cook’s finesse in navigating the divide was tested as never before in January when Apple lowered its quarterly revenue projections, in part due to the softening of the Chinese economy after Trump levied his sanctions,” Overly, McGill, and Chen write.Cook told investors at the time that ‘macroeconomic factors will come and go’ but said he manages Apple for the long term.”

“Cook has approached the White House in a number of ways, from talking trade with Trump in the Oval Office last April to dining with the president and first lady Melania Trump in August at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, N.J. He maintains frequent contact with White House officials like economic adviser Larry Kudlow, and joined the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump on a visit to an Idaho schoolroom in November to highlight technology in education,” Overly, McGill, and Chen write. “Cook has been equally active in working the Chinese side. During a four-day trip to China in October, the Apple CEO’s itinerary included a meeting with Li Qiang, secretary of the Chinese Communist party in Shanghai. Then in Beijing, he was one of several U.S. business leaders to shake hands with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan on the sidelines of an advisory board meeting for Tsinghua University’s business school.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a high-wire balancing act that Tim is navigating, for sure!

I’m cognizant that in both the U.S. and China, there have been cases where everyone hasn’t benefited, where the benefit hasn’t been balanced. My belief is that one plus one equals three. The pie gets larger, working together. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, March 24, 2018

President Trump says U.S.-China trade deal ‘very, very close,’ pushes U.S. stocks higher – February 25, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook optimistic about U.S.-China trade talks – February 12, 2019
President Trump says U.S. doing well in trade negotiations with China – January 23, 2019
China’s 2018 growth slows to 28-year low, more stimulus seen – January 22, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook: I’m very optimistic about U.S.-China trade talks – January 8, 2019
Advisor to President Trump: Apple’s sales should pick up when U.S.-China strike trade deal – January 3, 2019

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Sherif Laoun” for the heads up.]