Trump Says Apple's Cook Talked Samsung and Tariffs

President Donald Trump said Apple CEO Tim Cook made a "good case" that the China tariffs are hurting Apple more than their main competitor, Samsung.  

Trump met with Cook Friday (Aug. 16) and Trump told reporters he was "thinking about" the issue, though did not signal what that might mean.  

The exchange with reporters, according to the White House transcript, was the following: 

"THE PRESIDENT: I had a very good meeting with Tim Cook. I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook. And Tim was talking to me about tariffs. And, you know, one of the things -- and he made a good case -- is that Samsung is their number-one competitor, and Samsung is not paying tariffs because they're based in South Korea. And it's tough for Apple to pay tariffs if they're competing with a very good company that's not. I said, 'How good a competitor?' He said they are a very good competitor. So, Samsung is not paying tariffs because they're based in a different location, mostly South Korea, but they're based in South Korea. And I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I'm thinking about it." 

The President continues to argue that his tariffs on Chinese goods are a productive trade strategy and are hurting China more than the U.S., a point he reiterated over the weekend, saying: "[China] lost over 2 million jobs in a short period of time. And they want to make a deal; we'll see what happens. But they definitely want to make a deal." 

Trump has threatened a new 10% tariff on $300 million worth of Chinese goods beginning Sept. 1. 

Tech companies say it is a tax on U.S. consumers. The Consumer Technology Association has asked Congress to step in to stop Trump's trade war. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.