Tim Cook’s involvement in trade negotiations between the United States and China has been detailed before, but a new report this week from Politico sheds more light on Cook’s role. The report explains how Cook has been “the one who is best placed” to deal with both the United States and China in these talks.
The report outlines the various interactions Cook has had with White House personnel: meetings in the Oval Office, dinner with the first lady and president, and “frequent contact with White House officials.” James Lewis, former State and Commerce department official, told Politico that Cook is the “tech titan” best suited to deal with both the U.S. government and China:
“Among the tech titans, he’s probably the one who is best placed to deal with both sides at the same time,” Lewis explained. Apple, he said, is respected in the U.S. as one of the country’s most valuable companies, and is viewed in China as being more “impartial” and “independent” than other American firms.
According to the report, Cook’s willingness to meet with President Trump and his aides despite the “risks” has “benefited” Apple in some ways:
The Apple CEO’s willingness to meet personally with Trump and his aides, rather than send other executives to deal with the White House, has benefited the company, according to an administration official familiar with the CEO’s tactics.
“He’ll take the meeting, and in some regards, take the risk,” the official said. “A meeting with POTUS — it’s a pretty fluid environment. The risk paid off.”
Further, when Cook and Trump meet, the two are said to connect through their business knowledge and how that knowledge can be used to navigate the “public policy stuff.”
“[Cook] says, ‘You’re a successful business guy, we know how hard this public policy stuff is, help me continue to run this successful American company,’ and that appeals to them,” the official said. “He’s managed to forge relationships with senior folks and made a strong impression on them and it shows in some public policy choices that were made and were not made.”
The full Politico report is available here and is a good read if you’re interested in how Cook navigates his ever-growing political efforts.