Apple CEO Tim Cook defended globalization and cautioned against isolationism in a speech in China over the weekend — in a stark contrast to the policies being pursued by the new U.S. president.
“I think the worst thing would be to — because it didn’t help everyone — is to say it’s bad and do less of that,” Cook said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “I think the reality is you can see that countries in the world…that isolate themselves, it’s not good for their people.”
The speech at the China Development Forum came after Cook announced last week that Apple would boost its investment in research centers in China. Cook, who spoke at the annual forum for the first time, also called for China to continue to “open itself” to other global trade, Reuters reported.
Apple has a delicate relationship with China — an important market for it and any global company — and also is facing pressure from President Trump to make its products in the United States instead of in China and other countries.
While Cook did not mention Trump, his comments seem to be an implicit criticism of the administration’s hostility to globalization and embrace of isolationism.
U.S.-China relations are growing increasingly fragile under Trump, whose comments and plans for tariffs have sparked concerns about a possible trade war. Apple and other Silicon Valley companies could be greatly affected by such a war, something that Chinese media has warned about.
Apple also joined other tech companies in speaking out against Trump’s isolationist policies, including the president’s first attempt to ban refugees and immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries from the United States, an effort that was struck down by the courts. Cook said hundreds of Apple employees were affected by the ban.
In his speech, Cook also reportedly spoke of Apple’s commitment to its users’ data privacy, something that it has had tensions with both the U.S. government and the Chinese government over.
Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at a product launch event on March 21, 2016, at Apple headquarters in Cupertino. Cook spoke at a China forum over the weekend. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)