A new report sheds light on Apple CEO Tim Cook’s involvement in trade negotiations between the United States and China.
An in-depth report from Politico reveals the full extent of Apple’s involvement in the current U.S.-China trade dispute, explaining that CEO Tim Cook has been “the one who is best placed” to deal with both the United States and China in these talks.
Cook remains one of the few primary tech leaders who continues to engage directly with President Donald Trump, despite the president’s immigration policies and remarks about minorities, for example, having scared off other executives from liberal-leaning Silicon Valley. The Apple boss has had a number of interactions with the White House over the past few years, including meetings in the Oval Office, dinner with the President and the First Lady, and “frequent contact White House officials.”
James Lewis, a former State and Commerce Department official, said that Tim Cook is the “tech titan” most well-suited to deal with the U.S. government, China, and the trade war between the two nations:
“Among the tech titans, he’s probably the one who is best placed to deal with both sides at the same time,” Lewis explained. Apple, he said, is respected in the U.S. as one of the country’s most valuable companies, and is viewed in China as being more “impartial” and “independent” than other American firms.
The Apple CEO‘s willingness to personally meet with President Trump and his aides, rather than send other Apple representatives, has been beneficial to the Cupertino company, says an administration official familiar with the CEO’s methods.
“He’ll take the meeting, and in some regards, take the risk,” the official said. “A meeting with POTUS — it’s a pretty fluid environment. The risk paid off.”
When Cook and Trump do meet, the pair apparently are able to connect through mutual business knowledge, and that knowledge is used to further navigate “public policy stuff,” including the U.S.-China trade war.
“[Cook] says, ‘You’re a successful business guy, we know how hard this public policy stuff is, help me continue to run this successful American company,’ and that appeals to them,” the aforementioned official said. “He’s managed to forge relationships with senior folks and made a strong impression on them and it shows in some public policy choices that were made and were not made.”
Apple has directly benefitted from Cook’s actions in the White House, claims the report. When President Trump imposed a $200 billion USD tariff on Chinese goods late last year, products like smartwatches and Bluetooth devices were among the devices exempt from the tax; the Trump administration denies any preferential treatment for individual companies.
While Cook doesn’t explicitly comment on what the duo discuss behind closed doors, he has expressed optimism that both the United States and China will soon reach a resolution in the ongoing trade war.