Apple's Tim Cook: US-China's escalating trade war not hurting company

Apple CEO Tim Cook said China has not targeted the tech giant yet amid the escalating trade war with the U.S.

Cook told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell in an interview Tuesday that he didn’t expect China to target Apple. O’Donnell asked Cook how Apple was affected by the trade war.

“Well, it currently the Chinese have not targeted Apple at all. And I don't anticipate that happening, to be honest,” Cook told O’Donnell.

O’Donnell pointed out that there was a 25 percent tariff on the iPhone XS which could bump the price up an additional $160. She asked the CEO if sales would be affected by the tariff.

“Sure it would,” Cook said. “I'm hoping that doesn't happen. And I don't anticipate it happening. I know people think the iPhone is made in China. The iPhone is assembled in China. The truth is, the iPhone is made everywhere. It's made everywhere. And so a tariff on the iPhone would hurt all of those countries, but the one that would be hurt the most is this one.”

Despite the iPhone remaining popular, sales have fallen sharply for the device for the past two quarters and could suffer another blow if China’s government targets the device.

The Trump administration has imposed up to 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion on imports from China and was preparing to increase import duties on another $300 billion. China has hit back with tariff hikes of its own.

Amid the trade war, other issues loom for Apple. Regulatory complaints and a consumer lawsuit both question whether Apple has been abusing the power of its iPhone app store to thwart competition and gouge smaller technology companies that rely on it to attract users and sell their services.


Cook told O’Donnell that Apple was “not a monopoly” and disagreed with presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who said Apple “should break up its app store and other parts of its business.”

“I strongly disagree with that,” the CEO said. “I think some people would argue, if you are selling a good, then you can't have a product that competes with that good. And I think that's part of what is being argued there. But that's an argument that takes you down the path that, Walmart shouldn't be stocking alternative or house brand. And so this is decades of U.S. law here. But I think scrutiny is good, and we'll tell our story to anybody that we need to or wants to hear it. I feel very confident in our position. You know, we're on the user's side. We're on the user's side in privacy. We're on the user's side in trying to prevent fake news. And so we curate, and we've always done that. We're not an amplifier for fake news or pitting groups against one another or having porn or all this other kind of stuff. This is not what we're about, and we've never been about that.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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