President Donald Trump toured Apple’s Mac Pro manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, with CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday.
“We’re seeing the beginning of a very powerful and important plant,” Trump said during the visit. “I want to see Apple building plants in the United States. That’s what’s happening.”
Trump echoed that theme in a tweet after the tour. “Today I opened a major Apple manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America,” he wrote.
Trump neglected to mention a couple of key facts about the facility. First, it’s technically owned by Apple contractor Flex, not Apple itself. More important, it’s not new. Apple has been building the Mac Pro at the same location since 2013.
Apple is opening a new facility in Austin—a 3 million square foot office complex where Apple says its employees will perform a variety of functions, including “engineering, R&D, operations, finance, sales and customer support.” In remarks at the Mac Pro plant Wednesday, Cook touted it as a $1 billion investment that will create Apple’s second-biggest site after Apple’s home base in Cupertino.
But that new facility isn’t a manufacturing plant. It will create some high paying jobs, but they’ll mostly be white-collar jobs in areas like engineering, finance and sales.
Tariff relief helped Apple stay in the US
Apple’s decision to keep Mac Pro manufacturing in the United States follows contentious negotiations with the Trump administration. Back in June, a Wall Street Journal story suggested that Apple was preparing to move Mac Pro manufacturing to China.
The Journal story included remarks from an Apple spokesman that didn’t dispute plans to move to China. Instead, the spokesman emphasized that “final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process.”
Behind the scenes, Apple was seeking tariff concessions that would make it more affordable to assemble the Mac Pro in the United States. Several key components of the Mac Pro were made in China and Apple would incur tariffs if it shipped those parts to the US for assembly.
Donald Trump took a hard line on the issue in a July tweet. “Apple will not be given Tariff waiver, or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China,” he wrote. “Make them in the USA, no Tariffs!”
But then in September, Apple announced that it would continue making the Mac Pro in Austin after all—and the company credited the Trump administration for the shift.
“The US manufacturing of Mac Pro is made possible following a federal product exclusion Apple is receiving for certain necessary components,” Apple wrote in its September announcement. Despite Trump’s threats, his administration granted 10 out of 15 Apple requests for relief from Trump’s 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports.