FILE PHOTO: Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Apple Tim Cook and Lisa Jackson arrive for the State Dinner in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File photo)
Count Apple’s Tim Cook among those who don’t think a trade war between the U.S. and China is likely to occur.
Speaking to analysts on Tuesday after the company announced fiscal second-quarter results, Cook, who recently met with President Donald Trump concerning trade, said he is “very optimistic” the two countries can work out their differences.
“I think my own view is that China and the U.S. have this unavoidable mutuality where China only wins if the U.S. wins and the U.S. only wins if China wins and the world only wins if China and the U.S. win,” Cook said when asked if the threat of a trade war between the world’s two largest economies could impact the company’s business. “And so I think there’s lots of things that bind the countries together and I’m actually very optimistic.”
Cook, 57, added history has shown that “countries that embrace openness and diversity do much, much better than the ones that are closed.”
He ended his response by saying: “I’m a big believer that the two countries together can both win and grow the pie, not just allocate it differently. And so that’s our focus, and I’m optimistic that – I don’t know every play by play that will happen, but over time, I think that view will prevail.”
Apple, the world’s largest company by market cap, has a significant interest in the outcome of any trade talks between the U.S. and China.
In its most recent quarter, Apple generated $13 billion in revenue from Greater China, up 21 percent year-over-year, the strongest growth rate Apple has seen there in two-and-a-half years. Later on in the conference call, Cook said the growth in China was aided by the iPhone X, Apple’s $999 smartphone and its wearable business.
Apple’s second-quarter surpassed Wall Street’s expectations, Fox Business reported. Revenue rose 16 percent year-over-year to $61.1 billion, compared to $60.82 billion expected by analysts.
Apple shares were up more than 4 percent to $176.12 in early Wednesday trading.
While Apple gets a lot of revenue from China, its relationship with the world’s largest country by population goes even further than that. Apple uses Foxconn Technology, the largest private employer in China, to assemble many of its products, including the iPhone. In the past, both Apple and Foxconn have come under intense criticism for labor practices in the country, but Apple has worked with its partners to improve these practices.
The company recently outlined the progress it has made and the challenges that lie ahead in its 2018 progress report.
Cook’s comments come as the U.S. is sending representatives to China to discuss trade relations between the two countries. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow are among the officials set to head to Beijing tomorrow to discuss trade.
Speaking to Fox Business, Secy. Mnuchin said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the meetings.
The venerable Apple CEO recently met with Trump to discuss trade, according to a tweet from the president.
Looking forward to my meeting with Tim Cook of Apple. We will be talking about many things, including how the U.S. has been treated unfairly for many years, by many countries, on trade.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2018
“Looking forward to my meeting with Tim Cook of Apple,” Trump tweeted on April 25. “We will be talking about many things, including how the U.S. has been treated unfairly for many years, by many countries, on trade.”
Cook, along with Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, attended last month’s State Dinner in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Washington.
Fox Business’ Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report. Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia