Tariffs Proposal Slammed By Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Intel And HP

The tech companies are urging the U.S. government against adding tariffs of up to 25 percent on goods from China including laptops, tablets and smartphones.


Giants of the American device industry are chastising proposed tariffs on products from China in letters to the U.S. government trade representative.

Apple this week filed a letter with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that is highly critical of additional tariffs, which would impact “all of Apple’s major products,” the company said.

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Meanwhile, Microsoft, Dell Technologies, Intel and HP Inc. sent a joint letter to the trade representative this week that warns against tariffs on products such as laptops and tablets.

The U.S. government is proposing a tariff of up to 25 percent on $300 billion worth of products from China as part of the ongoing trade war with the country.

In the letter from Microsoft, Dell, Intel and HP, the group contends that "the proposed tariffs on laptop computers and tablet devices (hereinafter, “laptops”) threaten to disproportionately harm multiple U.S. interests, including small and medium-sized businesses, a wide range of consumers, and device manufacturers."

The six-page letter states that the "imposition of tariffs on laptops will require U.S. technology companies like ours to divert resources away from R&D and innovation, negatively impacting our ability to remain technology leaders."

Apple sent a shorter letter to Lighthizer, but with a similar message. The letter notes that the tariffs would impact Apple product lines including iPhone, iPad, Mac and AirPods, as well as parts and batteries used for repairs within the U.S.

"U.S. tariffs on Apple’s products would result in a reduction of Apple’s U.S. economic contribution," the letter states.

The proposed tariffs “would also weigh on Apple’s global competitiveness. The Chinese producers we compete with in global markets do not have a significant presence in the U.S. market, and so would not be impacted by U.S. tariffs. Neither would our other major non-U.S. competitors,” Apple said. “A U.S. tariff would, therefore, tilt the playing field in favor of our global competitors."

The letter concludes, "We urge you not to proceed with these tariffs."

Last fall, Apple products including the Apple Watch and AirPods were spared from tariffs, after concerns were aired by Apple that they would be covered in whole or via certain components by the tariffs.