New Tariffs Could Hit Laptops, iPhones, Trump Says

In the slowly escalating trade war between the United States and China, laptops and iPhones could be the next casualty hit by tariffs. U.S. President Donald J. Trump said an interview with The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Monday that the levy could be as high as 10 percent.

"Maybe. Maybe. Depends on what the rate is," Trump said of smartphones and laptop computers to the WSJ. "I mean, I can make it 10 percent, and people could stand that very easily." His aides, however, have reportedly suggested that those items be exempt from the tariffs in fear of consumer reaction.

Apple, which is currently exempt from the existing tariffs,  didn't comment to the WSJ, but has suggested to U.S. trade authorities that tariffs would put the California-based company at a disadvantage against competitors overseas and that it could mean higher prices for U.S. consumers.

Additionally, Trump said that he expects to boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products to 25 percent in January. He may also add $267 billion of tariffs to goods not already targeted under the existing tariffs.

Trump told the WSJ that companies importing goods from China should move plants to the U.S. Apple builds its phones and laptops overseas, though many parts come from its home country.

"What I’d advise is for them to build factories in the United States and to make the product here,” Trump said. “And they have a lot of other alternatives."

Following the report yesterday, Apple's stock went down a little under two percent in after-hours trading. The potential tariffs come at a time when Apple has decided to stop reporting sales for specific items, including iPhones, as it works through reported issues with demand. It could also make prices on the company's latest devices, which are higher than usual, even higher. Of course, Apple is far from the only U.S. tech company to be potentially affected, though it's certainly among the most high-profile.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon