Hey, Trump Tech Boosters, What About China Tariffs?
It has been fascinating to listen to executives from US mobile operators talk about how a Trump administration's corporate tax cuts and potential light regulatory touch could be great for the wireless industry over the last few weeks.
Now, I'm no economist -- although I did fall asleep during economics lessons in college quite frequently -- but being all happy-clappy about Trump's impact on telecoms seems to be only looking at one side of the picture to me. Sure, big service providers might be able to swallow smaller ones and pump bigly dividends back at shareholders. But, as the old song says: Is that all there is?
Well, I don't think so, at least not in this case. See, I haven't heard service provider execs talk about tariffs on Chinese manufacturing operations, which could make smartphones much more expensive.
Smartphones: The very lifeblood that has fueled the boom in mobile communications since the iPhone arrived in 2007 in the US, and before that in Europe and Japan. And they're largely manufactured in China.
Trump has not only talked about imposing tariffs on China but also named Peter Navarro -- who lives to take a poke at China -- to oversee US trade policy. So, ya know, it surely seems like tariffs on Chinese-made goods could be a thing. We really don't know for sure quite yet. (See Top 5 Tech Trump Expectations for 2017.)
So, why don't US wireless service providers talk about that aspect of the brave new Trumpian world? I have a little theory. The president-elect has demonstrated that he can knock stocks down with just a tweet. So maybe it is just best for operators to keep in his good books and say nothing?
Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Doesn't worry me, by the way: I don't own stocks in anything I write about.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading