President Trump threatens new taxes on American companies that make goods outside United States

On Thursday, President Donald Trump threatened to impose new taxes on American companies that produce goods outside the United States, another move his administration could make to push supply chains away from China and raise new trade barriers.

President Trump tours Apple Mac Pro facility with CEO Tim Cook in Austin, Texas on Wednesday, November 21, 2019
President Trump tours Apple Mac Pro facility with CEO Tim Cook in Austin, Texas on Wednesday, November 21, 2019
David Lawder for Reuters:

Trump said in a Fox Business Network interview that taxation was an “incentive” for companies to return manufacturing to the United States. He did not specify whether these would be new across-the-board tariffs or another form of taxes, which would require an act of Congress.

“You know, if we wanted to put up our own border, like other countries do to us, Apple would build 100 percent of their product in the United States. That’s the way it would work,” Trump said.

U.S. officials say that Trump’s administration is “turbocharging” efforts to push companies to move production of away from China, partly as a way to punish Beijing for its early handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

MacDailyNews Note: Trump talks about Apple, China, and taxes and more in the full interview:

Thoughtful commentary on this issue is welcomed below. Please keep the discussion civil and on-topic. Off-topic posts and ad hominem attacks will be deleted and those who post such comments will be moderated/blocked. Permanent loss of screen name could also result.

81 Comments

    1. Not going to happen in a very long time. iPhones would be $3,000 and up with USA labor. Maybe one day when it could be 100% automated but that is a long way off.

      1. I’m so sick of hearing this. No, iPhones would not be $3000 and up if made in the USA. They may be less than what is being charged now. The amount of innovation that could go into building up manufacturing could result in major cost reductions. Plus you don’t factor in the theft of intellectual property that could more easily be thwarted by not manufacturing in China.

    2. And you want to pay how much for it. You are unlikely to find a a location with several thousand available workers with nimble fingers. Chips/wafers maybe, but iPhone assemble in the several millions would be a real problem.

    1. Republicans used to push free trade and fair taxation. Now they push crony capitalism and isolationism. Tariffs and taxes are threatened EVERY MONTH as a distraction from real issues that a competent government would address. Insiders of course get special exemptions and pardons. The current unitary presidential power worship is the fast route to national decline, even if the current presidio was equipped for the office, which he clearly is not.

      The USA needs dramatically improved infrastructure, education, and needs to stop the massive deficit spending if the country wants to be relevant for more than one more generation.

      Virtual Reality and iOS games aren’t the answer. Sustainable infrastructure, a reversal of Citizens United, proper banking regulations, and balanced budgets would be. Sad how the formerly fiscally responsible party is now the worst offenders at mismanagement of national resources and finances.

      Bankruptcy #8. Way to go cheeto.

  1. It would take us minimum of 5 years to get to the level of production (if we even could) that China has. Plus, red tape legislation would have to be significantly reduced as well as EPA guidelines changed. After all that is done, now we really need “legal” immigration for all the assembly-line workers. Now, just hope all of America doesn’t have NIMBY attitudes.

      1. Let’s see, I have been to dirt bike races with my second son. I have also been to mountain bike races with my youngest son. We also have been to cross country, Nascar dirt track, robotics, and a few more sporting events.

        How did you know?

        1. Your statement would be more believable if we hadn’t all heard the orange rally cries denouncing specific racial groups, followed by official policies being suddenly changed to halt any significant immigration from specific nations.

          But like all of cheeto’s imported wives, Melania’s family was fast tracked for immigration. After Melania had ILLEGALLY overstayed her work visa.

          Meanwhile US manufacturers can’t get the people they need to expand US tech and manufacturing. Smart kids from around the world get their university degrees here, graduating near the tops of their classes. But they were not born on this strip of land, so instead of being welcomed to stay with a tech job, they are pushed out as fast as the administration can say the word Dreamer.

          Apparently modeling silicone boobs is a critical skill that the US needs?

  2. Nice to see the thoughtful commentary above? These are crazy times, as the lines are drawn. One side says “let’s go back to work” and hopes the virus isn’t so bad…the other side says “shut it down!” and hopes the economy will be wrecked so they can blame the president of the USA. Of course, it’s all under the pretense of “compassion” like usual..nothing like an epidemic to win the presidency! The resistance will do WHATEVER IT TAKES.

    1. The thing is that the virus is not so bad, it hits the elderly and people in bad shape, protect them and let the 99.9% of people who will be totally fine back to their normal lives. Then bring lawsuits and criminal charges against the control freak governors, “public health officers”, and other totalitarian freaks who used this opportunity to destroy people’s lives.

      1. Nick, if you want to be taken seriously, do not begin a comment by claiming that something which has killed 85,000 Americans in less than four months is “not so bad.”

        1. Context below since context is, as always, lacking above.

          U.S. leading causes of death (2017, most recent data):

          Heart disease: 647,457
          Cancer: 599,108
          Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
          Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
          Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
          Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
          Diabetes: 83,564
          Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
          Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633
          Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

          Now, consider who COVID-19 kills most efficiently, and realize that many of the deaths above will be wrongly attributed to COVID-19, inflating the COVID-19 death totals and you arrive a the sane person’s conclusion: Not so bad.

          The suicide totals will of course increase, due to cowardly Democrats who want to destroy everyone’s lives in a vain attempt to get a Dementia patient elected.

          1. I have already responded to your misuse of these statistics, yet you post them again. I have almost grown used to the brazenness with which you turn a pandemic into a walk in the park.

            To repeat, if you count Influenza deaths the same way that you count Covid-19 deaths, the coronavirus has killed between six and thirty-five times as many Americans in less than four months as seasonal flu kills in a year.

            For several weeks now, it has outpaced the daily death rate from confirmed individual cases of heart disease.

            I know you don’t like those statistics, because they don’t support your narrative that no human lives worth saving would be threatened by dropping social distancing, but there they are anyway.

            1. Where did I advocate “dropping social distancing?”

              Answer: Nowhere.

              Nobody social-distances better than me. I have been ensconced at my lake house for 3+ months.

            2. “I have already responded to your misuse of these statistics”

              “I know you don’t like those statistics, because they don’t support your narrative”

              HA!

              “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news.”

              -Saul Alinsky

              TWO quotes that describe yourself perfectly — accusing others of what you yourself are doing.

              Your IGNORANCE of statistics and the twisting extrapolations of cherry picked timeframes designed to misinform and favor the Democrats is the most egregious MISUSE of statistics I have ever read.

              Your old news… 😴

            3. Ok, GeoB. Rather than accuse me generally of misusing statistics and cherry-picking time frames, be specific. Provide an example, and I will support my position with actual data, rather than a personal attack. I know you don’t like the truth, but it is often unavoidable. The virus is killing more persons of color and working-class folks—presumably Democrats—than young upper-class Republicans, so I doubt the liberals are behind it.

          2. Again, ignorance. The fact is that a lot of deaths that are being attributed to something else are actually from complication of Covid-19. Many pneumonia deaths are a direct result of Covid. A friend just recently dies of a stroke. That happened because of Covid, which causes blood clots. In fact, it’s estimated that Covid deaths are being UNDERCOUNTED by at least 50%, and by as much as 100% because of this.

        2. I’m sick of all this BS! The virus is real but, the so called facts contradict each other and are mainly contrived. It really comes down to too many people are afraid to died or live! Not to mention that 95% of this whole situation is an agenda…don’t waste a good disaster…let’s destroy and remake America to fit a new world order. Wake up people and smell the coffee and carnage!

        1. Sadly, the virus first hits the old and the healthcare workers. Since the numbers can be abstract and the coffins aren’t blocking the driveways of the trumptards, they are self confident that there is no reason to spend any effort whatsoever to battle the virus. Typical me-first attitude.

          The ignorant selfish orangists don’t tend to be infected because they are already isolated. No sane person wants to be anywhere near them.

      2. If you are a Trumpist, and you think the virus is not so bad, then by all means, go out and mingle with others who share you political/scientific beliefs. Let natural selection do its thing (if you believe in natural selection), and we’ll see which part of the herd gets thinned.

    2. Then we need to see ‘all cause/excess mortality’ and compare to five year averages. In the UK, the excess deaths stats tell a picture of way more deaths going recorded as ‘unknown’. Strip out the known CV19 numbers and you still have a large spike in excess deaths. Now I wonder what could be causing that?

      1. As I have been saying since February, we simply do not have enough data yet to make a determination of total fatalities or the case fatality rate. It will likely be quite awhile before we know enough about this novel disease to accurately determine the actual mortality. One key to that will be measuring excess mortality. One thing we can be sure of—it will be far, far higher than seasonal flu or the H1N1 pandemic. The response to it was not a panicked overreaction.

  3. I am politically progressive-minded person and supporter of progressive policy generally speaking, and thus I almost never agree w/ Trump. However, I have real problems w/ past neolib and neocon American trade policy post-Reagan from Republicans and Dems alike. Unfettered trade and a global supply chain is fine…. until it’s not. (See COVID-19)

    On incentivizing companies to build in America, I’m 1,000% w/ Trump. Jack up the taxes on companies w/ supply chains outside of America. Perhaps even make the taxes most onerous on countries that are particularly egregious is handling global health issues, pollution, stealing IP, spying, etc. These may be dangerous powers to give an autocrat like Trump, generally speaking, but he was a head of a lot of the politicians in Washington in seeing and calling out the problems posed by China. And he took an aggressive posture against them early in his administration. And rightly so imo.

    As an Apple user, I don’t like that China owns so much of the company’s supply chain. That’s asking for a problem. It’s going to happen inevitably. It’s just a Q of when. When China nationalizes those factories or confiscates their IP, or much, much worse. China and it’s political maneuvering, their financing of global dictatorships and coal and a host of other problematic choices gives me serious pause.

    I am not a big Trump fan to put it mildly, but I trust China even less.

    1. Jack up the taxes on companies w/ supply chains outside of America.

      The three problems with this are:

      The people who would pay those taxes would be, ultimately, the American consumer or stock holder;
      This would serve only to cause other countries to jack up their taxes on companies with supply chains outside their countries;
      We would all be left with the same product (or fewer) but at greater expense, making us all poorer.

      1. “We would all be left with the same product (or fewer) but at greater expense…”

        Everything you write is true, but maybe it’s time to accept more expense for more secure supply chains that provide good jobs for Americans.

          1. Bad logic. If you think that way, you should not waste money on expensive Apple products.

            Invest in local prosperity and the local area will be prosperous. Invest in quality and your investment will pay you back well.

            Trust overpaid CEOs to trickle down prosperity and you get imported disposable plastic Chinese junk filling every consumer store. Including the Apple store, by the way. The white plastic adapters Apple forces on its users are pure junk.

            Reform is needed. The richest man on the planet is the guy who solved the problem of getting Chinese junk to your doorstep faster while gutting Main Street small businesses that used to make higher quality goods.

            Tax laws need to change — that being said, the 2017 McConnell income tax giveaway to fat cats proved once again that the power brokers don’t care about national prosperity. the 1%, withMcConnell et al as puppets, are lining their pockets while working Americans slide into poverty. Donald signed the bill knowing full well that his base, the low income working class, would get screwed and the USA would worsen the insane debt it already carries. Note how no right winger economists are proudly showing how the bill could ever pay for itself. Even the wildly outlandish propaganda to sell the disastrous bill to the electorate was seen by real economists of the conservatives persuasion as pure hogwash. The US tax code more than any other nation rewards labor outsourcing and funnels wealth to corporate insiders, to the obvious detriment of the working classes. That must change. The GOP made it worse.

            Do you think that tax laws make sense when Bezo’s company pays next to nothing to sustain the infrastructure they use? Do you honestly believe it’s rational for Jeff to be rewarded more cash in the next hour than you will ever earn in a lifetime ?

            Orange idiot talks a lot but he did the exact opposite thing the nation needed in 2017. his empty threats of taxes and tariffs today are simply cronyism to enrich himself and friends. Real reform needs to happen in the light of day without special exemptions doled out after the fact. This will only happen when the administration is cleansed of the lobbyists and puppets in power today. Theow out both parties.

    2. If China or any other country (India, in particular) wanted to really hurt the US, all they have to do is stop shipping pharmaceuticals to us. Half the US population seriously relies on medications to manage their health. We make practically zero medications here. Nearly all the API’s (active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) for medications are made in China or India. The federal govt (https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2018-19612/p-56) knows this is a problem. All China has to do is develop a disease (virus) and its cure then release it into the wild and let nature take its course. Of course, China has the cure and the power to force its people to have the vaccine. What do we have: a decimated population.

      We ought to learn from the past (Arab Oil Embargo in the 70 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis ) and mitigate those issues.

      1. Here’s something interesting I’ve heard whispered about recently in certain D.C. circles:

        Trump was/is a massive thorn in China’s side. Trump threatened China’s free ride to world domination granted by all U.S. admins since Nixon.

        COVID-19 likely was either intentionally or accidentally released into the wild.

        If intentional, it was because the CCP doesn’t care how many of its own people were expended (they have 1.4 billion. Even a couple million just means a few months of cremation. They’ll never miss them. Collateral damage. Worth it to get rid of Trump and go back to the status quo with a politician they own: Joe Biden).

        If accidental, the CCP decided to use it to their advantage by deploying their pawn, the WHO, to delay the world by six weeks which was more than enough time to crash the global economy in time for the U.S. election and, again, the CCP doesn’t care how many of its own people were expended (they have 1.4 billion. Even a couple million just means a few months of cremation. They’ll never miss them. Collateral damage. Worth it to get rid of Trump and go back to the status quo with a politician they own: Joe Biden).

          1. I never heard about “pizzagate,” except in jest.

            Again, Trump was/is a massive thorn in China’s side. Trump threatened China’s free ride to world domination granted by all U.S. admins since Nixon.

            If the arrival of COVID-19, perfectly-timed for U.S. elections, doesn’t arouse any suspicion on your part, you’re even stupider than I think you are (if that’s even possible).

            If you think China doesn’t want a government-lifer, establishment, status-quo, rubber-stamper like Biden in office and Trump gone, you’re as crazy as you are stupid (if that’s even possible).

          2. Good to read TxUser DID NOT DISPUTE the facts in F2T2 post, but he changed the premise to a ridiculous empty response.

            Then my favorite:

            Why am I so doubtful whenever you are out of sight…

            WooHoo…

            Deflection… torments my heart
            Deflection… keeps us apart
            Deflection… why torture me

            Parody from “Suspicion” by the King Elvis …

            1. I didn’t dispute (or DISPUTE) the facts in his post because there were no facts, or even alleged facts, in his post. It was a rant composed of unsupported opinions and conspiracy theories. He is entitled to his opinions, just as I am entitled to my opinions. I can dispute facts, but there is no point in disputing opinions… or even any way to dispute them.

            2. “I didn’t dispute (or DISPUTE) the facts in his post because there were no facts, or even alleged facts, in his post.”

              USER, Denial is not a river in Egypt…🤣

  4. There is a really good book that explains why economic isolationism is a bad idea: The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. It is somewhat controversial, since it heavily influenced the revolutionaries Benjamin Franklin and James Madison. Indeed, it guided both sides in the negotiations leading to the Treaty of Paris acknowledging American independence and promoting global trade. If you want to make America great again, restoring free trade might be a good place to start.

    1. Tell China to have free trade too, okay? We need to have a mirror policy. Whatever you tax on our products we will tax on yours. How about that? You dump government supported/ subsidized goods on our front porch and we will do the same. How about that?

      I am for free trade but it must be both ways. China has not done this and in fact is active seeking to steal IP secrets from around the world) and kill our economy.

      1. YEARS WORTH OF CONSISTENCY (which certainly proves he’s not a politician)

    1. The CEO’s love of slave labor prevents large scale manufacturing in the US, Tesla is about to have it’s head handed to it by the Germans and the Koreans.

      And Apple flushed billions down the buyback hole (nearly 300 billion dollars), they could have done many things on shore in America the will just isn’t there.

      Just one quarter of that 300 billion dollars equals 1,250,000 million people at a average salary of 60,000 dollars per year. Note Foxconn uses maybe 230,000 workers on Apple products, most of Foxconn factories are used to supply the rest of the tech world.

      230,000 workers in America or Europe would equal 13.8 billion dollars per year in salary worse case?.

      Also, note if Apple or any tech company would spread out to 3 different parts of the world, that cost would be lower (America/Europe are the worse case).

      Making stuff in China isn’t the problem, making everything there is.

      60,000 is just an average across all workers. high and low.

      1. No need. Who buys Trump products other than MAGA hats? The “unwashed” in the MAGA hats cant’t afford them. Those who can afford them wouldn’t want to be seen wearing them.

      2. Ivanka and Donald sell mostly clothing, accessories, and golf stuff. Much of it, not all of it, is made outside the USA. For anyone who badmouths all international trade as much as Don, one would think he’d make the simple policy for his company to source only from his home turf. It’s not hard to lead by example if you have integrity. This is simply one more example of Don’s regular hypocrisy shouted from the bully pulpit.

        But you knew that. Why do you expect someone else to provide you an inventory of this season’s imports? Trumpets don’t give a sheet about facts. Their one an only defense for Don’s belligerent behavior is Whataboutism. If anyone in the world dis something of which a trumpet doesn’t approve, then by their logic it gives Don the right to be twice as nasty.

        Race to the bottom.

    1. Why do you even care? So what if he gets fabulously wealthier? Or, are only non-businesspeople supposed to be eligible for the U.S. Presidency? We’re supposed to limit it to “community organizers” or government employees or other non-producers? Great idea.

      Anyone can “make a profit” off the presidency. Ask Bill Clinton. Ask Obama. The Bushes were already rich. Even Jimmy Carter managed to become a millionaire off the presidency.

  5. A few questions come to mind when thinking about bringing manufacturing back to America:
    – where to find all the assembly-line workers with proper skills: how many are needed?
    – where to find all the skilled engineers to setup and run these factories; how many needed?
    – where to find the education facilities that would educate these needed people
    – how long would all of the above take
    – how much would “Made in USA” products cost compared with “Made in China”
    – could we afford to buy them

    1. Not sure of your age Gary but it hasn’t been that long ago America was the main producer of many goods, and just like in the past we will have to ramp up our education system to teach more engineering.

      Assembly line workers is not an issue.

      As far as time, we won’t know till we try.

      And as far as afford them, how long before there are so few jobs in America many won’t be able to afford even a used Android…..?

      I doubt anyone thinks EVERYTHING bought in America will ever be made in America.
      On the other hand, giving our economy over to third-world communist will not end well.

    2. If the Germans can do it after losing two wars, I think Americans can too, however being anti-union, anti-science, won’t work ok…we are in trouble…..

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