China threatens to cut sales of iPhone if Trump declares war on trade

Apple and US automakers could be forced to suffer should president-elect Donald Trump decide to play hardball with China over trade. 

An editorial from the state-run Chinese newspaper Global Times – via The Guardian – included a thinly veiled threat of repercussions if the incoming 45th president of the United States follows through on his threat to impose a 45 per cent tariff on imports from China.

It remains to be seen what Trump’s policies on trade will be (for example, he had campaigned against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but he may reverse his position), but the Global Times, a notable government mouthpiece, said the following:

“China will take a tit-for-tat approach then. A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the US.

"Trump as a shrewd businessman will not be so naïve. None of the previous presidents were bold enough to launch an all-out trade war against China. They all opted for a cautious line since it’s most consistent with the overall interests of the US., and it’s most acceptable to US. society.”

The president-elect had previously been very outspoken of China, saying that he would create a 45 per cent tarriff on Chinese imports and "when they see that they will stop the cheating". He had accused Beijing of “the greatest theft in the history of the world”. The editorial published by the Chinese newspaper on Monday said that any new tarriffs would lead to "countermeasures".

This is not the first time that Apple has been in the firing line of politics with the president-elect. Trump had spoken of Apple and China in the past, demanding that that the vendor produce its products domestically in the US. He also called for a boycott of its products after Apple rejected government requests to unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernadino shooters.

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