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No, Apple is not opening a new manufacturing plant in Texas



  Donald Trump speaks at Apple's Mac Pro manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas.
Enlarge / Donald Trump speaks at Apple's Mac Pro manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas.

MANDEL NGAN / Getty [19659004] President Donald Trump toured Apple's Mac Pro manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, with CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday.

"We saw the beginning of a very powerful and valuable plant," Trump said during the visit. "I want to see Apple building plants in the United States. That's what happens."

Trump mentioned that theme in a tweet after the tour. "Today I have opened a major Apple manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America," he wrote.

Trump refuses to mention some basic facts about the facility. First, it is equally owned by Apple contractor Flex, not Apple itself. More importantly, it is not new. Apple has been building the Mac Pro at the same location since 2013.

Apple has opened a new facility in Austin – a 3 million square foot office complex where Apple says Its employees will perform various other functions, including "engineering, R&D, operations, finance, sales and customer support." In comments to the Mac Pro plant Wednesday, Cook exchanged it as a $ 1 billion investment that will create Apple's second-largest location after Apple's home base in Cupertino.

But the new facility is not a manufacturing plant. This creates some high paying jobs, but they are mostly white-collar jobs in areas such as engineering, finance and sales.

Tariff relief helped Apple stay in the US

Apple's decision to keep manufacturing Mac Pro in the United States follows unresolved disputes over the Trump administration. Back in June, a story from the Wall Street Journal suggested that Apple was preparing to move Mac Pro production to China.

The Journal story includes comments from an Apple spokesperson who did not plan to move to China. Instead, the speaker emphasized that "final assembly is just one part of the manufacturing process."

Behind the scenes, Apple is seeking tariff concessions that will make it more affordable to assemble the Mac Pro in the United States. Many key Mac Pro components are manufactured in China and Apple will have tariffs if it sends parts to the US for assembly.

Donald Trump took a hard line on the issue in a July tweet. "Apple will not be given a Tariff waiver, or relief, for parts of the Mac Pro manufactured in China," he wrote. "Make them in the USA, no Tariff!"

But after September, Apple announced that it would continue producing Mac Pro in Austin after all – and the company convinced the Trump administration for the move.

"US manufacture of Mac Pro is possible following a federal product exception that Apple receives for certain required components," Apple wrote in its September announcement. Despite Trump's threats, his administration granted 10 of Apple's 10 requests for relief from Trump's 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports.


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