The original Apple Watch has become a casualty of the ongoing trade war between China and the United States. The list of items imported from China which will face a 10 percent import tariff includes the original Apple Watch along with wearables from FitBit, Bluetooth speakers, and more.
Smartphones and laptops will be exempt from this import tariff. All the devices in the list have been determined by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials who have classified the above devices in the “data transmission machines” category which contains more than 6,000 codes.
Interestingly, the list includes the original Apple Watch for a 10 percent import tariff but exempts the Series 2 and Series 3 from it. As for FitBit, its older wearables like Charge, Charge HR, and Surge will attract a 10 percent import tariff, with its newer smartwatch, Versa, being exempted. Bluetooth speakers from Sonos which includes the Play 3, Play 5, and SUB speakers will also attract a 10 percent import tariff.
There’s no word from any of the companies if once the 10 percent import tariff becomes applicable, they will also raise their product prices or not.
Its unclear on what basis the U.S. customs department has decided on the list of items on which it will charge an import tariff. The list definitely does not make sense since it primarily includes older tech products which have been phased out or are on the verge of being phased out.
It is possible that the products from Apple, Fitbit and Sonos no longer fall under tariff codes in the $200 billion list, trade experts said. The codes applied to specific products are only public knowledge because their makers asked regulators to rule on their proper classification. And some of the products have been replaced by newer models that could be classified differently.
But if companies have products whose tariff codes are on the list, they have three options, experts said: Advocate to get the code dropped from the list during the public comment period, apply for an exclusion once tariffs go into effect, or try to have their products classified under a different code not on the list.
U.S. President Donald Trump has already reassured Tim Cook that iPhones will be exempted from the trade war between China and the United States. But it looks like the U.S. government might just end up slapping an import tariff on other Apple products.