Trump tells Apple to move plants from China to US

Trump signals escalation of trade war with China, says he has tariffs ready on another $267-billion of imports

Kudlow declined to say if the Trump administration will clarify Friday whether it will follow through with a plan to impose tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, the day after a public feedback period ended.

Trump has had Beijing in his crosshairs since he took office, and has applied increasing pressure to try to convince it to change its policies, allow more imports and reduce the $335-billion USA trade deficit with China.

"Because all tariffs ultimately show up as a tax on U.S. consumers, they will increase the cost of Apple products that our customers have come to rely on in their daily lives", Apple wrote in the letter to Trump administration.

The tariffs that Trump has imposed, and threatened to impose, total $517bn - more than the $505bn in Chinese goods that entered the country previous year.

"That totally changes the equation", Trump said.

Recent progress has been made in trade talks with Canada and Mexico, an important step to prevent Chinese exporters from sending goods to neighboring countries to skirt USA tariffs. Still, disagreements between the two major economic powers run deeper than just the trade balance and tensions remain over limits on US firms' access to Chinese markets, intellectual property protection, technology transfers and investment. "We hope, instead, that you will reconsider these measures and work to find other, more effective solutions that leave the USA economy and USA consumer stronger and healthier than ever before". If that pace continued for the remainder of this year, Chinese imports would top $548 billion - leaving Trump a bit short of complete coverage of Chinese goods.

"There is still an impact from front-loading of exports, but the main reason (for still-solid export growth) is strong growth in the US economy", said Zhang Yi, an economist at Zhonghai Shengrong Capital Management.

The four tech firms are concerned that tariffs will increase the cost of items such as hard drives, servers and networking equipment, which could hit profits and result in job cuts in the US.

The trade war the president has initiated between the world's two largest economies stems from concerns that China has deployed predatory tactics - including cyber-theft - to try to supplant America's technological supremacy.

Investors in USA assets have generally shrugged off the escalating trade war with China, said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco, which manages $988 billion in assets. According to CNBC, the company said that the President's proposed tariffs would impact various Apple products, such as the Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePod, Mac, Mini, Apple Pencil, and chargers and adapters for a number of gadgets.

"The direct economic effects of the U.S. -Chain tariff dispute have so far been limited".

Earlier, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC that the administration was still talking with China about trade issues but that so far China had not met U.S. requests.

Reuters had reported that the Apple Watch was likely to be affected by the tariffs. China has warned that it would retaliate with import taxes on $60 billion worth of US goods.

Some business groups greeted the president's latest tariff threats with dismay.

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