Apple to produce iPhones in India, defying Trump's protectionism

Apple to produce iPhones in India, defying Trump's protectionism
California-based tech firm looks set to snub Trump's protectionism with a new plant in India, while arch-rivals Samsung consider opening a US manufacturing base.
2 min read
03 February, 2017
Apple is currently in talks with Karnataka's state government regarding the deal [Anadolu]

US tech giant Apple is set to defy President Donald Trump's protectionism by assembling iPhones in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, the state's government said Friday.

The possible move was announced by Priyank Kharge, Karnataka's Minister for IT on Twitter.

"Apple's intentions to make iPhones in Bengaluru will foster [a] cutting-edge technology ecosystem and supply chain development in the state," Kharge wrote.

This follows an announcement earlier this week from Apple saying that it was keen to "invest significantly" in India".

Kharge also told AFP that "we have an understanding with Apple and we expect them to start manufacturing in Karnataka by the end of April".

It is understood that the California-based tech firm is currently pushing for concessions before the move wil go ahead. Indian law currently requires firms to source 30 percent of their components locally before being able to sell directly to customers in India.

Meanwhile, Apple's key rival Samsung is reportedly considering building a manafacturing base in the US for its home appliances, a Reuters source said Thursday. 

Most iphone parts are currently produced in China [AFP]

The report comes amid increasing concern about Trump's protectionist policies, which have caused some firms and states to react accordingly.

Indians in particular have voiced concerns over Trump's reported plans to cut H1-B visas for skilled workers.

India's vast outsourcing industry employs millions of people. Its business in the US, where it provides engineering and other tech services to firms such as IBM and Microsoft  is highly dependent on the H-1B visa, according to CNN Money.

On Friday, the London-based news agency also cited Japanese government sources who said that Tokyo is finishing off a trade package that will look to create 700,000 jobs in the US.

During his campaign trail, Trump promised to bring jobs back to the US in response to his country's steady loss of manafacturing jobs over the last century.

Manafacturing accounted for around 30 percent of the US' total employment in the 1950s, however by the end of 2016 had declined to just over eight percent.

A key target of Trump's protectionist rhetoric has been China, where Apple produces the bulk of its iPhones.