Tim Cook is trying to get Trump to back off his trade battle with China

  • President Donald Trump will meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday.

  • On the agenda: Trump's relationship with China, recently imposed tariffs, and trade.

  • Apple, and many tech companies, rely on intermediary goods from China to make their products.

President Donald Trump will welcome Apple CEO time Cook to the White House on Wednesday for a one-on-one meeting. At the top of the agenda: recently imposed tariffs on Chinese goods.

According to the news website Axios, Cook plans to address proposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Trump has also suggested an additional set of tariffs on another $100 billion worth of goods may be on the way.

"Looking forward to my meeting with Tim Cook of Apple," Trump tweeted Wednesday. "We will be talking about many things, including how the U.S. has been treated unfairly for many years, by many countries, on trade."

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The tariffs will likely have a significant effect on Apple's supply chain. The restrictions target intermediary goods, particularly in the technology sector, that companies use to build finished goods in the US.

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It's unclear how many of the 1,300 Chinese goods that could be affected by the tariffs pertain to Apple. But the possibility of increased tensions between the two countries doesn't bode well for a globally integrated company.

In addition to the Chinese crackdown, the Trump administration's new tariffs on aluminum and steel could also hit Apple's cost structure.

When asked about the tariffs at a March panel discussion in Beijing, Cook said countries that embrace open trade tend to fair better.

"Countries that embrace openness, that embrace trade, that embrace diversity are the countries that do exceptionally," Cook said. "And the countries that don't, don't."

Also problematic for Cook and the tech community is the short window for the tariffs' rollout — 60 days from announcement to imposition. That makes it less feasible for Apple to shift production or renegotiate contracts with suppliers to adjust for the new restrictions.

Thousands of companies have already petitioned the Trump administration for exemptions to the metals tariffs. The final Chinese products list has not been finalized, so Cook could lobby Trump to make sure Apple is not harmed.

Trump has shown a willingness to soften the rougher edges of tariffs.

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