Trump tells Apple to make products in US to avoid China tariffs

In this file photo taken on September 22, 2017 an Apple logo is seen on the outside of an Apple store in San Francisco, California. (AFP)
Updated 09 September 2018
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Trump tells Apple to make products in US to avoid China tariffs

  • The Trump administration has placed punitive tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods and threatened to tax all Chinese imports to the United States
  • US businesses have become increasingly concerned about the tariffs, which are raising prices for manufacturers and could hurt the economy

WASHINGTON: US President Trump tweeted on Saturday that Apple Inc. should make products inside the United States if it wants to avoid tariffs on Chinese imports.
The company told trade officials in a letter on Friday that the proposed tariffs would affect prices for a “wide range” of Apple products, including its Watch, but it did not mention the iPhone.
Trump, speaking on Friday aboard Air Force One, said the administration had tariffs planned for an additional $267 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Trump tweeted that “Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China — but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive. Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now.”
Apple declined to comment.
The technology sector is among the biggest potential losers as tariffs would make imported computer parts more expensive. Apple’s AirPods headphones, some of its Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face levies.
“The burden of the proposed tariffs will fall much more heavily on the United States than on China,” Apple said in its letter.


Student loan debt still crippling burden for millions of Americans

Updated 20 November 2018
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Student loan debt still crippling burden for millions of Americans

  • 42.2 million Americans were repaying a federal student loan at the end of June 2018 for a total sum of nearly $1.5 trillion
  • Many students take out loans from the federal government or private lenders

WASHINGTON: Michael Bloomberg’s record $1.8 billion donation for financial aid to Johns Hopkins University highlights the problem of student debt in America, which can still be a burden even years after graduation.
According to the Department of Education, 42.2 million Americans were repaying a federal student loan at the end of June 2018 for a total sum of nearly $1.5 trillion, the largest volume of debt after home loans.
Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said he was making the gift to his alma mater to help qualified low- and middle-income students more easily afford access to university in a country where post-secondary education fees at elite schools routinely exceed $50,000 a year, a prohibitive barrier for most families.
“I was lucky: My father was a bookkeeper who never made more than $6,000 a year. But I was able to afford Johns Hopkins University through a National Defense student loan and by holding down a job on campus,” Bloomberg, who also founded the financial news service of the same name, wrote in a New York Times op-ed.
The donation, believed to be the biggest ever to a university, “will ensure that we are able to recruit more first-generation and low-income students and provide them with full access to every dimension of the Johns Hopkins experience,” its head Ronald Daniels said.
Currently, 44 percent of students at the institution in Baltimore, Maryland, complete their studies in debt, on average owing more than $24,000, university data shows.
For Sandy Baum, a university professor at the Urban Institute, Bloomberg’s gift is “great” but “that’s just a drop in the ocean.”
His move would have had a bigger impact if he gave money to improve the quality of education for more students, in less elite private or public institutions, she told AFP, adding that they sorely lack funding.
Baum is not opposed to student loans because for most students, the choice becomes one between not going to university or borrowing to go.
Most students’ loans, she says, amount to between $15,000 and $20,000 but getting $40,000 in debt is not unusual for a bachelor’s degree (four years of study).
The College Board estimates the average cost of a four-year course in a private university at $34,740, not counting additional accommodation and living expenses.
Many students take out loans from the federal government or private lenders.
Some, especially the less wealthy, fall into the spiral of over-indebtedness when they find themselves unable to repay their loans.
They no longer have access to credit, cannot rent a home or buy a car. A local cable channel this summer launched a game, “Paid Off,” in which the participants battle it out to see who has their student debt cleared.
The problem worries everyone — even the US central bank. “As student loans continue to grow and become larger and larger, then it absolutely could hold back growth,” Jerome Powell warned in March.
Joanna Darcus, a lawyer for the consumer protection organization NCLC, welcomed Bloomberg’s big donation.
It’s needed in our “completely broken system of financing university education by debt,” she said.
For students from low-income backgrounds “it is very important to lower the cost of education” as student debt increases the gap between rich and poor, she told AFP.
The NCLC advocates for an increase in the number and size of university scholarships.
“If its possible for people to go to school without incurring debt we are all better off; we don’t have to spend money on debt collection and student debt doesn’t impair the decision-making on a personal, professional or financial level,” she added.