Trump tells Apple to move plants from China to the US UU

Chinese people queue in front of an Apple store in Beijing.

President Donald Trump has tweeted that Apple Inc should manufacture products within the United States if it wants to avoid tariffs on Chinese imports.

The company told trade officials in a letter on Friday that the proposed rates would affect the prices of a "wide range" of Apple products, including its watch, but did not mention the iPhone.

Trump, who spoke Friday aboard Air Force One, said the administration had planned rates for an additional $ 267 billion ($ A376 billion) worth of Chinese goods.

Trump tweeted on Saturday that "Apple prices may increase due to the massive tariffs we may be imposing on China, but there is an easy solution where there would be a ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive." Make your products in the United States in China's place, start building new plants now. "

Apple declined to comment.

The technology sector is among the biggest potential losers, since tariffs would make imported computer parts more expensive. Apple's AirPods, some of its Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face taxes.

"The burden of the proposed tariffs will fall much more on the United States than on China," Apple said in its letter.

The White House has accused China of stealing US intellectual property and forcing US companies to share their technology with Chinese companies. The rates would pressure China to stop that behavior, the administration said. Apple said it is "hard to see" how tariffs would advance the government's goal.

The presidential tweet is the latest salvo in a dispute between the Trump administration and companies that fear tariffs will hurt their business.

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs of $ 50 billion on imports from China, mainly equipment and materials used by manufacturers.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in July that those measures had no effect on Apple. However, the company is concerned about the Trump administration's proposal to add tariffs of 25 percent to another $ 200 billion in Chinese goods, including a wider variety of consumer-related items.