Recent news that Apple will be building its newest desktop computer in Texas rather than in China probably has President Trump excited about bringing manufacturing back to the US. Apple’s production of those computers in the US was only made possible by the 25% tariff that was placed on imports from China. That tariff has already affected some Apple computers, although iPhones won’t see the tariffs go into effect until December.
But Apple still needed exemptions from tariffs on Chinese-made components in order to produce the new computers. The reality of the electronics industry today is that most components are made in China, so Apple will still need relief from tariffs on the components used to manufacture its computers. Were it to decide to manufacture iPhones and tablets in the US too, one would imagine that the company would similarly require exemption from tariffs on the component parts.
But for every “victory” for a company like Apple, there are numerous losers. Among those are companies such as Arrowhead Engineered Products, which imports spare parts for Chinese-made products. The company has filed over 10,000 of the 16,000 requests for relief that are currently awaiting a decision from the Department of Commerce. Were the company’s requests to fail, in the best case scenario consumers would have to pay more for spare parts. In the worst case scenario the company would be forced out of business, while consumers would find it difficult or impossible to find spare parts for their Chinese-made goods.
That brings us to the ultimate losers in all of this, American consumers. While companies such as Apple may be able to bring manufacturing back to the US, there are many others who can’t. Many spare parts and components for cars, trucks, lawnmowers, and household appliance aren’t being made in the US and haven’t been for decades. And no company is going to start producing them again knowing that the next President could repeal the tariffs and render manufacturing unprofitable. In the end US consumers will lose out, as they will be unable to service their equipment or will have to pay exorbitantly high prices to do so. Tariffs are a recipe for impoverishment and lower quality of life, not for making America great again.