The United States will spare Apple’s Watch and other consumer gadgets from the latest round of tariffs on Chinese goods, a senior administration official said in a last-minute reprieve for the technology industry.
The administration’s proposal for the tariffs on $US200 billion of products drew protest from technology companies earlier this year, but the final list of taxed devices described by the official avoids many big consumer brand names and products.
It will take effect on September 24 at a 10 per cent level and rise to 25 per cent at the end of the year.
Smart watches and devices that use bluetooth wireless communications, the technology behind Apple’s AirPods and other products that work with smartphones, will be excluded from the new tariff list.
In an earlier round of tariffs on $US50 billion of goods, the Trump administration removed proposals on flat-panel television sets for the final list in June.
The new list would spare fitness trackers from Fitbit, which had said in a comment letter to regulators that the tariffs would compromise its own investment in the United States.
Despite the changes, the new tariffs still will cover about $200 billion worth of additional Chinese goods, as part of an intensifying trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
Apple had said the US tariffs would affect prices for a “wide range” of Apple products, including its Watch, in a letter commenting on administration proposals earlier this month.
“Our concern with these tariffs is that the US will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower US growth and competitiveness and higher prices for US consumers,” Apple said in a letter commenting on the proposal.
After Apple’s comments, Trump said in a tweet said that there was an “easy solution” for Apple to avoid tariffs. “Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now,” he tweeted on September 8.