Apple will ‘suffer’ if Trump starts trade war, Chinese government-backed media warns

Will the iPhone and other devices manufactured in China be harmed by a Trump presidency?

Possibly, warns an editorial from the Global Times, a Chinese state-run publication, if a Trump presidency follows through on its campaign promises when it comes to the Communist nation.

As the GOP presidential candidate, Trump campaigned on getting tough on what he called “cheating China” when it comes to trade. He said he would impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports.

If that happens, a trade war would be certain. The editorial predicted:

China will take a tit-for-tat approach then. A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the US.

Trump as a shrewd businessman will not be so naïve. None of the previous presidents were bold enough to launch an all-out trade war against China. They all opted for a cautious line since it’s most consistent with the overall interests of the US, and it’s most acceptable to US society.

Trump cannot change the pattern of interests between China and the US. The gigantic China-US trade is based on mutual benefits and a win-win situation. Even as president, Trump can exert limited influence on it.

If Trump wrecks Sino-US trade, a number of US industries will be impaired. Finally the new president will be condemned for his recklessness, ignorance and incompetence and bear all the consequences.

But since his election win, President-elect Trump has dialed down some of the rhetoric around foreign engagement, something the editorial noted.

“Trump is not obstinate with regard to ties with China,” the editorial said. “Making things difficult for China politically will do him no good.”

China’s president, Xi Jinping, spoke to Trump recently, congratulating him on his election victory. According to The Guardian, China experts say that Beijing is rattled by what a Trump presidency means but have learned that while candidates may campaign on an anti-China message, the tune changes once they are in office.

While saber-rattling, the editorial may not represent the Chinese government’s positions, suggests Engadget:

If China really wanted to drop some not-so subtle warnings about international relations, it’d use Global Times’ parent the People’s Daily, or Xinhua News. This byline-free editorial is more of a rebuke to the accusation that China is a currency manipulator. The stuff about blocking the iPhone and Boeing seem to be baseless conjecture than anything else.

Photo: An Apple store in central Beijing, China.  (Alexander F. Yuan/AP)


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  • Larry Linn

    If Apple suffers, the investors will suffer as well.