As the tariffs war getting escalating, I am curious about how the tariffs works on Iphone. Apple is an American company, and Iphone is its product. But manufactured by factory in China. Is there a tariff imposed on Iphone when it imported back? Are all goods that belongs to American company but manufactured in China being included? If not, what is the driver? If it is, what percent of the tariffs are actually product from American company, isn't increasing tariffs just hurting these companies?


2 Answers 2


As of April 2018, the tariffs are targetted at products in which Chinese companies dominate. They would apply to products made by American companies in China and imported to the US, but the exact products covered have been chosen to minimise this effect. Nevertheless,

it will most likely increase costs for American manufacturers that depend on imported parts because it concentrates heavily on machinery and high-tech components.

In other words, US firms that use components made in China by Chinese companies as inputs in creating more complex products will be harmed. For instance, Harley Davidson have said that

Import tariffs on steel and aluminum will drive up costs for all products made with these raw materials, regardless of their origin.


In general, China-made cell phones are included in the latest round(s) of tariffs:

A range of consumer products — including cell phones, computers, clothing and toys — were hit by the tariff rate increases from 10% to 25% on Friday [May 9, 2019]. Auto parts were also included.

Various US manufacturers had managed to obtain some dispensations, and it looks like Apple is one of them:

No Apple products are included in the additional tariffs on Chinese products that went into effect this morning [...]

Apple was also spared in the previous round (Sep 2018):

Apple’s smartwatches and wireless earphones were among the items that were spared as the US unveiled its updated list of tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese-made products as US President Donald Trump escalated a trade war with China on Tuesday.

Apparently Trump had personally promised Tim Cook back in June that Apple phones would not be affected. In November Trump apparently changed his mind somewhat, mentioning a 10% tariff on iPhones, but apparently his administration hasn't gone through with that threat, insofar.


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