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Consumer electronics — devices like iPhones, iPads, and Macs — will account for about $167 billion of the $300 billion in Chinese imports the government is preparing to level new tariffs on, a trade industry group warned this week.
Prices for cellphones could rise by an average of $70 while laptops could go up $120, claimed Sage Chandler, VP of international trade for the Consumer Technology Association. The group represents corporations like Apple, Google, and Intel, and Chandler spoke on their behalf Monday at a hearing hosted by the U.S. Trade Representative's office, according to CNBC.
"A lot of consumers will look at that and say: 'I'll just wait for the next generation.' That's a lot of money for the average consumer," Chandler said, adding that because so many other industries now rely on high tech, tariffs would impact them as well.
Barring new diplomacy, the Trump administration is poised to impose 25% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports sometime after a public comment period ends on July 2. The U.S. and China are engaged in a trade war over demands that the latter open up business to foreign firms and better protect intellectual property — for instance putting an end to forced technology transfers.
The countries are already suffering under tit-for-tat tariffs against each other. These have yet to substantially affect Apple, but the company has vocally opposed anything further, most recently issuing a letter claiming that new tariffs would "tilt the playing field" in favor of competitors.
One recent report claimed that Apple is looking to move as much as 30% of iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and AirPods production out of China. The company's strict quality demands could mean however that it would take as much as a year and a half — during which Apple would have to eat the costs of any tariffs or shift the burden to the public.