President Trump to tout economic policy with Austin Apple visit

Local News

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Wednesday, President Donald Trump will tour Austin’s Apple manufacturing facility with the company’s CEO Tim Cook.

On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump said, “I’m going to bring jobs back. I’m going to get Apple to start making their computers and their iPhones on our land, not in China.”

With business tax cuts and increased taxes on imports from China — known as tariffs — Apple began making more products in Austin. The President will meet with Apple employees on Wednesday as more tariffs could come next month on their products constructed in China.

The Trump Administration announced a trade deal with China but it is still unknown whether the deal will be acceptable to the President to stop new tariffs of 15 percent on Chinese made products, including many made by Apple.

According to a White House official, Trump and Cook will be joined by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow; Senior Advisor to the President and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and the Advisor to the President and the President’s daughter Ivanka Trump.

Apple will build its new Mac Pro in Austin while many of the company’s other products are assembled in China.

Apple made the move to avoid the Trump Administration’s Chinese tariffs, according to CNBC. The iPhone is assembled in China and facing possible tariffs. While more of the Mac Pro parts will be constructed in America, the Federal government could allow some parts of it to be created outside the United States and imported without tariffs.

Over the summer, Trump tweeted he would reject Apple’s application for exclusions — importing parts without tariffs.

“Apple will not be given Tariff waiver, or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China. Make them in the USA, no Tariffs!” the President tweeted on July 26.

Apple could face tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 that could impact many products like iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.

The Mac Pro is a desktop computer for artists, programmers, and analysts who need a lot of computing power. It costs around $6,000.

“We’re building the Mac Pro — Apple’s most powerful computer ever — right here in Austin because we believe in the power of American innovation. Like every product we make, the Mac Pro is designed and engineered in the U.S., and we’re proud to support 2.4 million jobs across the nation,” wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook to KXAN.

Cook is a member of the Trump Administration’s American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. Apple officials also signed the Administration’s Pledge to America’s Workers, promising 10,000 training opportunities over five years.

The President and Cook plan to speak with Apple employees about how products are assembled, labeled with “Made in the USA.”

In October, the President visited the Louis Vuitton Rochambeau Ranch in north Texas on a similar business trip.

Last December, Apple announced its Austin expansion. The plan calls for a $1 billion, 133-acre campus in north Austin. The company plans to hire 5,000 to 15,000 new employees, which would make Apple the largest employer in Austin.

A local progressive group, Indivisible Austin, plans on protesting the President’s event in North Austin.

The Texas Democratic Party also plans to hold a workers roundtable with the Texas AFL-CIO and local democratic officials, including Mayor Steve Adler. In an email they say it will be “exposing Trump’s failed economic record.”

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