Trump made his comments in an interview for the Wall Street Journal which was published Monday, just four days before his scheduled meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, CNBC reported.
“Maybe. Maybe. Depends on what the rate is,” the president said to WSJ about the possible iPhone and laptop tariffs. “I mean, I can make it 10 percent, and people could stand that very easily.”
Following Trump’s remarks, Apple stock was down nearly 2 percent in after-hours trading. Apple’s products are currently exempt from US tariffs. Although iPhones are assembled in China, some of the parts come from the US.
The US president also said that it is “highly unlikely” that Washington would delay a scheduled January tariff increase unless another trade deal is agreed upon.
“If we don’t make a deal, then I’m going to put the $267 billion additional on,” Trump said.
Trump and Xi are scheduled to meet this week at the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Argentina, where they are supposed to discuss, among other issues, the ongoing trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. Chinese officials have said that putting off the planned tariff increase was a top goal in negotiations, The Hill reported.
In September, Trump’s administration imposed 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and threatened to raise the tariffs to 25 percent on January 1. The US president also threatened additional tariffs on $267 billion of Chinese imports if China retaliated with its own tariffs — which it did — unless the US and China reach a new trade agreement.