Apple CEO visits White House to talk trade

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Apple’s CEO Tim Cook (left) and US President Donald Trump during a meeting last year. Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump and two top aides talked about trade issues with Apple Inc chief Tim Cook yesterday as the White House prepares to try to avert a trade war with China, a manufacturing hub for the iPhone maker.

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Mr Cook, who has urged calm during the recent flare in US trade tensions with China, held private talks with Mr Trump in the Oval Office. He also spoke with the president’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Mr Trump is preparing to send a delegation to China to try to head off a trade war that stands to harm Apple, the world’s largest technology company, and other hardware makers that build products in China.

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Mr Trump has threatened a new round of $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese products that could target cellphones, computers and other consumer goods. China retaliated against an initial round of $50 billion in tariffs.

The meeting, which the White House said had been in the works for a couple of weeks, came the day after Cook sat at Trump’s head table at his first state dinner, held in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron.

A White House official described the meeting as “good” but neither the White House nor Apple provided details of the discussions.

Mr Trump said earlier yesterday that he was looking forward to seeing Mr Cook. “We will be talking about many things, including how the US has been treated unfairly for many years, by many countries, on trade,” he said on Twitter.

Mr Cook also had strong relations with Trump’s predecessor in the White House, Democratic President Barack Obama. He sat at the head table for Obama’s 2015 state dinner honoring Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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Mr Cook has been to China at least three times since October, including paying a visit to Mr Xi.

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