Trump's Planned Tariffs on Imported Steel and Aluminum Would Likely Apply to Apple Products

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he plans to impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum to protect domestic producers. Trump is expected to sign the formal order next week, and he promised that it will remain in effect for a "long period of time."

apple steel
The controversial plan would almost certainly apply to Apple products like iPhones, iPads, and Macs, which contain a significant amount of the metals. The latest 15-inch MacBook Pro contains 740 grams of aluminum, for example, while the iPhone X contains 58 grams of stainless steel for its frame.

The details of Trump's plan aren't fully clear yet, however, according to Bloomberg News. If the tariffs only apply to raw materials, for instance, then Apple would be largely unaffected since the majority of its devices are assembled in Asia and shipped to the United States as finished products.

If the duties do apply to finished products, analyst Gene Munster speculated Apple's costs to make Macs and iPhones could rise as much as 0.2 percent, assuming the tax is a percentage of the steel and aluminum used in the devices.

Apple's domestic manufacturing is limited to the Mac Pro, assembled in Austin, Texas. The high-end computer contains 3,660 grams of aluminum and steel imported from outside of the United States, making it subject to the proposed tariffs. However, the Mac Pro is only produced in limited quantities.

The biggest question is whether the impact on Apple's profit margins would lead the company to raise the prices of Macs and iPhones, but given the company's costs are only estimated see a marginal increase, it would seem unlikely.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Top Rated Comments

napabar Avatar
84 months ago
For some, I guess it's OK if other countries like China tax the hell out of our steel, yet expect us to import theirs duty free. This kind of one-sided nonsense has to end. The US should match the tariff rate off each country that we do business with. That's the best way to encourage free trade. They get the same deal they give us.

And shame on Apple for using imported steel for the Mac Pro, when they could buy locally. That's going to end,
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Madmic23 Avatar
84 months ago
The details of Trump's plan aren't fully clear yet,
Are the details of any Trump plan ever clear?
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Blackstick Avatar
84 months ago
Find a new way to hate the POTUS every day.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BoxerGT2.5 Avatar
84 months ago
Republicans: Man, Trumps popularity numbers suck, but as long as the economy keeps growing this way he has a shot.

Trump: "Hold my beer, I'm starting a trade war."
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mozumder Avatar
84 months ago
Congratulations Trumpers, you played yourself.

Sorry kids, but if you can't compete with other countries fairly, you don't deserve to stay in business. There's no faking it in economics. If you try to fake it by protecting bad unprofitable industries, you end up like Venezuela.

The goal of economics should always be efficiency. If that means letting a Chinese person do something because they can do the same thing for cheaper, LET THEM. Americans will find something else to do that takes advantage of their skills.

If you think a person in China is your competition, then you have already lost.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chupa Chupa Avatar
84 months ago



The biggest question is whether the impact on Apple's profit margins would lead the company to raise the prices of Macs and iPhones, but given the company's costs are only estimated see a marginal increase, it would seem unlikely.
I'm not a fan of tariffs, this one included. Like others I think (hope) it's just a hardball negotiation ploy. That said, it's not a big question. There isn't enough aluminum or steel in an Apple Watch to increase the raw cost more than a couple bucks. Given Apple's already juicy profit margin here and also competition, no, they are not going to raise prices $5 to offset the increased cost should that happen and Apple chose not to source U.S. materials.

The effect of the tariff will be borne more on companies than consumers. The Fed's 3 or 4 rate hikes will hurt consumers more than this by far.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)