As first revealed yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook met privately with President Donald Trump and two the President’s aides yesterday in the Oval Office to discuss trade issues, Reuters reports. In addition to Trump, Cook also spoke with the president’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The White House said the meeting between the President and the Apple CEO had been in the works for a couple of weeks, and was described as a White House official as “good” although neither party provided any further details on the discussions other than that they were in the context of trade.
It seems likely the discussions at least partly centered on Trump’s plans to try and avert a trade war in China that would have a negative impact on Apple, where most of its consumer products are manufactured. Trump tweeted on Wednesday that among other things, he and Cook would be talking about “how the U.S. has been treated unfairly for many years, by many countries, on trade.” Cook has previously urged calm in the midst of the recent trade tensions between the U.S. and China, and has also visited China several times in the past year, even meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last October, who he also met in 2015 when seated at the head table at President Barack Obama’s Chinese state dinner.
Although Cook has openly disagreed with President Trump’s immigration and environmental policies, he has voiced his approval for Trump’s recent tax reforms, and Trump has similarly lauded Cook for Apple’s investments in the U.S. economy and job creation and technology training initiatives, calling Cook a “good guy” and holding Cook and Apple up as an example of how the Trump administration’s tax cut package is creating jobs.