President Trump has been discussing trade tariffs frequently over the past few weeks, and passing tariffs on steel and aluminum last week. According to Reuters, he is now looking into imposing tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports, specifically targeting consumer electronics, telecoms, and IT equipment.
This would have wide-reaching implications, including driving up the price of smartphones and other products manufactured in China. Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, ZTE, OnePlus, Oppo, and other companies build phones in the country. Despite many phones and tablets using components from all over the world, if the final manufacturing steps take place in China, they count as Chinese exports.
According to the report, one goal of the tariffs is to, "punish China for its investment policies that effectively force U.S. companies to give up their technology secrets in exchange for being allowed to operate in the country." One possible example of this is Apple moving some iCloud encryption keys for Chinese devices to servers located in the country, to comply with new laws.
Photo credit: Michael Vadon