President Donald Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook are reportedly expected to tour the company’s Texas-based manufacturing facilities together soon, CNBC reported on Tuesday.
Neither the White House nor Apple have officially announced the trip, but the tour would emphasize Cook’s amicable relationship with Trump and the current administration as the US’s trade war with China continues to drag on.
The Verge reached out to the White House about the trip, but a spokesperson declined to confirm it, saying that the “White House has no scheduling announcements at this time.” Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cook has continued to meet with Trump over the course of his presidency. In 2017, he sat on one of the administration’s business advisory boards and was one of the few to stay on after Elon Musk and Travis Kalanick left before it completely dissolved. Cook is also a part of the Trump administration’s Workforce Policy Advisory Board, and has attended several White House meetings in connection with the board.
“He’s the one that calls me,” Trump said in August, when asked about his relationship with Cook. “That’s why he’s a great executive because he calls me, and others don’t. Others go out and hire very expensive consultants, and Tim Cook calls Donald Trump directly.”
Trump’s tariffs have presented a significant challenge for Apple, which relies heavily on Chinese manufacturing. Earlier this fall, Apple agreed to manufacture its latest model of Mac Pro desktops in Austin, Texas. This decision came only a few days after trade regulators approved a majority of Apple’s filed tariff exemptions on computer parts. Cook’s relationship with Trump has so far kept Apple safe as it pertains to the ongoing trade war. Trump has made it a goal this presidential term to boost American manufacturing, and Apple has so far been willing to play nice with him.
In November, Apple asked the Trump administration for additional exemptions on products like Apple Watches and iPhone components exported from China. As of Tuesday, those new waivers have not been approved by regulators.
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