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Trump praises Apple’s expansion in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — President Donald Trump got away from the impeachment inquiry in Washington on Wednesday and celebrated tech behemoth Apple keeping its Mac Pro computer manufacturing plant in the Texas state capital.

Trump’s visit follows Apple’s announcement in September that it would continue manufacturing the latest generation of the Mac Pro in Austin — a move that came once the Trump administration agreed to waive tariffs on certain computer parts made in China.

“When you build it in the United States, you don’t have to worry about tariffs,” Trump said, with Apple CEO Tim Cook standing by his side.

U.S. tariffs are set to take effect Dec. 15 on an additional $160 billion in Chinese products — a move that would extend sanctions to a wide range of consumer goods, including clothes, toys and iPhones.

Cook has argued to Trump that competitor Samsung would not be subject to the same tariffs, and Trump said Wednesday he was “looking at” the possibility of exempting Apple from the tariffs.

“The problem we have is, is you have Samsung,” Trump said. “It’s a great company, but it’s a competitor of Apple, and it’s not fair. … We have to treat Apple on a somewhat similar basis as we treat Samsung.”

The quick visit to Texas gave Trump a chance to highlight job growth in a state crucial for Republicans in 2020, both in terms of campaign contributions and votes.

As he left Washington, Trump called the Austin plant a “fantastic facility” and said he’d been pushing Cook since before he was elected to locate facilities in the U.S.

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