Trump trade adviser says he has no knowledge of iPhone tariff exception

Trump trade adviser says he has no knowledge of iPhone tariff exception
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE's trade adviser Peter Navarro says that he doesn't have any knowledge about conversations between Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook on allegedly exempting the iPhone from future U.S. tariffs.

In a call with reporters reported by Bloomberg on Monday, Navarro said he had no information about the deal, signaling that Trump could have made the agreement with Apple without consulting his top trade advisers.

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The New York Times reported the deal Monday, citing a source familiar with the negotiations.

“With respect to Tim Cook and exceptions, I have no knowledge or comment about that,” Navarro said.

Apple's iPhones are assembled in China from parts manufactured in China, the U.S., and other countries, a process that could bring the tech giant into the forefront of the Trump administration's escalating trade actions against Beijing as well as China's retaliatory measures.

The Trump administration has vowed to make China pay for intellectual property theft as well as other unfair trade practices it alleges the country is engaging in. China, meanwhile, has responded to the White House with reciprocal measures aimed at U.S. industries that affect Republican-voting states, Trump's primary base of support.

Navarro suggested on the call with reporters that China could use other measures besides tariffs to strike back at the U.S. economically.

"If you read the previous statement by President Trump on the $50 billion of tariffs, he made it clear that he viewed Chinese responses to our actions not just limited to tariffs," Navarro said, according to Bloomberg.

"If China takes any actions to harm our companies operating in China or otherwise try to harm any corporate entity, farmer, ranch or whatever, those constitute actions which aren’t acceptable and this president will have the back of Americans whether they’re here on a farm in Iowa or Shanghai trying to operate.”

Trump announced Monday that he was directing his trade officials to identify $200 billion more worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs, further escalating the dispute between the two countries.

China called Trump's actions "extreme pressure and blackmailing" and accused the Trump administration of initiating a trade war.