Ap­ple con­tin­ues Mac Pro assem­bly in Texas

The Morning Call - - BUSINESS CYCLE - By Michael Liedtke

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Ap­ple will con­tinue man­u­fac­tur­ing its Mac Pro com­put­ers in Texas af­ter the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­proved its re­quest to waive tar­iffs on cer­tain parts im­ported from China.

The com­mit­ment clears up sev­eral months of un­cer­tainty while Ap­ple mulled shift­ing pro­duc­tion of the Mac Pro from an Austin, Texas, plant where it has been as­sem­bling the high-end com­puter since 2013. In late June, The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported Ap­ple was on the verge of shift­ing the Mac Pro’s assem­bly line to a fac­tory near Shang­hai.

But Ap­ple ap­par­ently had a change of heart af­ter the Of­fice of the U.S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive agreed to waive tar­iffs on the Mac Pro parts made in China. Those tar­iffs could have made the $6,000 Mac Pro even more ex­pen­sive.

“We thank the ad­min­is­tra­tion for their sup­port en­abling this op­por­tu­nity,” Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook said in a state­ment.

Ap­ple is deeply rooted in Austin, where it has built its se­cond largest cam­pus out­side its Cu­per­tino, Cal­i­for­nia, head­quar­ters. The com­pany says about 6,000 of its em­ploy­ees cur­rently work in Austin and it has plans to cre­ate an­other 5,000 jobs as part of a $1 bil­lion ex­pan­sion an­nounced last year. The Mac Pro assem­bly plant is run by Flex Ltd.

Ap­ple em­pha­sized the new Mac Pro, un­veiled in June with the com­pany’s typ­i­cal fan­fare, also con­tains parts from more than a dozen U.S. com­pa­nies and that the com­puter also is de­signed and en­gi­neered in its home coun­try.

Even with the tar­iff break on the Mac Pro, Ap­ple still could be hit later this year.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has promised to broaden the penal­ties he has been rolling out in his trade war against China. A 10% tar­iff sched­uled to take ef­fect Dec. 15 could af­fect the iPhone, which is mostly as­sem­bled in China.

JEFF CHIU/AP

Ap­ple will keep mak­ing the Mac Pro in Texas af­ter the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion agreed to waive tar­iffs on Chi­nese parts.

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