Apple reverses plans to make Mac Pro in China after securing tariff exemption

2 min read
The outside of an Apple store in Shanghai on March 27, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Shi Jiayi)

Apple said on Monday it will keep making new Mac Pro desktop computers in the United States after the company was granted certain tariff exemptions from the US government, reversing earlier plans to move production to China.

Why it matters: The California-based tech giant has been embroiled in a trade war between the US and China, with the American President Donald Trump pressing the company repeatedly to move more of its production from China to the US and imposing billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese-made goods.

  • Many of Apple’s products are designed by the company in the US but are imported from China after assembly, meaning that they are subject to the US tariffs.
  • The $6,000 Mac Pro desktop, which was introduced in 2013, is Apple’s only major device assembled in the US.

Details: The Mac Pro desktops will continue to be manufactured in its Austin, Texas facility, said Apple in a statement on Monday.

  • The company said it would begin production of the latest Mac Pro, which was unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference in June, at the same facility “soon,” without specifying a date.
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement that he was grateful for Apple’s investment and that the move was a testament to the state’s workforce and business climate, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“…every Apple product is designed and engineered in the US, and made up of parts from 36 states, supporting 450,000 jobs with US suppliers, and we’re going to continue growing here.”

—Tim Cook, Apple CEO, in the statement

Context: Apple had tapped Taiwanese contractor Quanta Computer to manufacture the Mac Pro and was ramping up production at a factory near Shanghai, according to a Wall Street Journal report in June citing people familiar with the plans.

  • The Monday decision follows the Trump administration’s move last week to grant 10 tariff exemptions on items Apple imports from China, including its Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 and some internal components.
  • But that will not change the fact that the company’s major products such as iPhones and MacBooks will face tariffs after December 15.