Apple avoids serious damage from US tariffs on China

Apple is breathing a sight of relief after its most important products avoided being added to a list of Chinese-produced products that will be subject to a new series of tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump.

There had been concerns that the new iPhone XS, Apple Watch 4 and other devices could be caught up in the ongoing trade war between the US and China, with the Trump administration introducing ten per cent levies on about $200 million-worth of Chinese imports.

Apple tariffs

The technology industry had voiced its opposition to the tariffs, arguing they would harm the sector and the wider US economy. Apple appeared to have the most to lose in the event of widespread tariffs being imposed, with CEO Tim Cook even dining with Trump to express his position.

The iPhone had been excluded from an earlier list of products that would be subject to the new tariffs, but there was no clarification on the status of other devices in Apple’s portfolio.

However, Reuters reports that the new list from the US Trade Representative (USTR) does not include ‘wireless’ products such as the Apple Watch, Airpods and Homepod. Fitness wearable Fitbit has also been excluded from the list.

In the end, list of affected products mostly affects components for cloud and networking equipment are the most affected by the tariffs, as are the machines used to make semiconductors.

Trump has said that any retaliatory action from China will be greeted by tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of goods – a figure which almost certainly impact the iPhone and just about another smartphone entering the US market.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.