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Trump’s China deal means no tariffs on iPhones

(Image credit: Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Apple CEO Tim Cook is likely breathing a sigh of relief now that President Donald Trump has signed a trade agreement with China that will eliminate the 15% tariffs that threatened to jack up prices on iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.

The tariffs on imported components from China were expected to take effect Dec. 15. Apple would have been forced to either eat the costs of the increased taxes or pass the rising prices onto buyers during the important holiday shopping season. Neither scenario was ideal.

“Trump delivered an early Christmas present to Apple,” Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note to investors obtained by Bloomberg.

Apple is already paying 15% tariffs on parts included in AirPods, Apple Watches and iPhones, which went into effect Sept. 1. The company earlier this year received exemptions for Mac components that would have been taxed at 25%. 

Cook has developed a friendly relationship with Trump, inviting him to Texas last month to tour a facility where Mac Pros are made. The event resulted in some fairly bizarre comments from Trump, in which he encouraged Apple to develop 5G in the U.S. (As a smartphone maker, Apple plays a very small part in how 5G is rolled out commercially.)

It’s unclear whether the existing tariffs will be rolled back as part of Trump’s trade agreement, but one thing is for sure: The iPhone 11 Pro will remain $999 through New Year’s Eve, at least.