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Opinion
Alex Webb

China Needs Apple in Its Trade War With the U.S.

Beijing has reasons not to crack down on the tech giant over its recent labor law violations as it looks for friends to fight its trade war with the U.S.  

Apple’s Tim Cook in Zhengzhou.

Apple’s Tim Cook in Zhengzhou.

Source: Bloomberg

Given the U.S.-China trade war, one might think that Apple Inc. contravening Chinese labor laws would provide just the ammunition Beijing needs to crack down on the tech giant.

Yet there are good reasons China might prefer not to crack the whip too fiercely on the iPhone maker. Apple plays an important role in the local economy, but amid the rising tensions with President Donald Trump’s administration, the Cupertino, California-based firm has another significant role: as a quasi proxy, lobbying in Washington for interests similar to China’s.