Trump warns Apple iPhones could face 10% tariff, shares sink

Apple shares fell slightly in trading Tuesday after President Trump warned that his administration could slap a 10 percent tariff on the company’s smartphones and computers amid an escalating trade conflict with China.

“Maybe. Maybe. Depends on what the rate is,” Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Monday. “I mean, I can make it 10 percent and people could stand that very easily.”

The Trump administration has already placed tariffs on $200 billion in goods manufactured in China in what it said was a bid to achieve trade parity between the two nations and discourage Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property. Chinese officials responded with retaliatory tariffs on American goods.

Trump said he would place tariffs on an additional $267 billion in Chinese-made goods if he is unable to reach an agreement with Beijing during the upcoming Group of 20 summit in Bueno Aires, Argentina. The president said the tariffs rate could be 10 percent or 25 percent.

Apple’s flagship smartphones and other devices are largely manufactured in China. Trump’s threat comes as the tech giant weathers concerns about slowing demand for the iPhone that have pushed company shares into a bear market in recent days.

Apple’s stock is down more than 20 percent since Nov. 1, when it gave a lukewarm sales forecast for the upcoming holiday season and said it would stop disclosing how many iPhones it sells every quarter.