SAN FRANCISCO — Apple will make its new Mac Pro computer in Texas after the Trump administration agreed to waive tariffs on some of its Chinese-made parts, the company said Monday.
The United States on Friday granted Apple’s requests for tariff exemptions for 10 Chinese parts in its new $6,000 Mac Pro.
The announcement Monday ended a monthslong public dance between the White House and Apple over tariffs and the company’s ability to build products in the United States.
Apple has for years made the Mac Pro in Texas, an experiment in U.S. manufacturing that has created some headaches. In June, shortly after Apple unveiled a new version of the Mac Pro, reports surfaced that Apple would shift the production to China.
Apple then asked the White House to waive tariffs on some components, suggesting it still wanted to make the Mac Pro in the United States. President Donald Trump responded on Twitter that Apple “will not be given Tariff waiver, or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China” and that the company should “Make them in the USA, no Tariffs!”
Days later, Timothy Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said Apple wanted to make the Mac Pro in America but suggested it needed tariff exemptions to do so. Weeks later, Trump tweeted that he was dining with Cook and that Apple “will be spending vast sums of money in the U.S. Great!”
The Mac Pro is Apple’s most expensive computer, starting at $6,000, and is targeted at professional customers such as photographers and film editors. It is among Apple’s lowest-volume products.
Trump for years has pressured Apple and other companies to shift manufacturing to the United States. Apple has been able to make a specialized product like the Mac Pro in the United States, but high-volume products like the iPhone would be difficult to manufacture outside China because no country can match China’s number of trained workers and its supply-chain infrastructure, according to analysts and former Apple employees.
Still, to reduce its dependence on China, where it assembles most of its products, Apple is investigating ways to increase manufacturing in Vietnam and India, even urging some suppliers to open new plants there, according to a former Apple executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements with Apple.
In July, Cook said he “wouldn’t put a lot of stock into” discussion that Apple was seeking to diversify its manufacturing from China.
“The vast majority of our products are kind of made everywhere,” he added. “There’s a significant level of content from the United States and a lot from Japan to Korea to China and the European Union.”
Apple’s position in China has emerged as one of the company’s biggest risks. In addition to its dependence on China for manufacturing, the region including mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan is Apple’s No. 3 sales market, accounting for about 17% of its overall revenue. A slowdown in Chinese sales has hurt the company’s overall growth this year.
Apple is perhaps the most prominent U.S. company in China and is among the biggest U.S. manufacturers there, putting it at the center of the trade war between the United States and China. Some Apple products have been subject to tariffs — costs that the company has absorbed so far — while others like the iPhone have been granted exemptions.