Senator urges Apple CEO Tim Cook to shift production from China to the U.S. in an open letter

Calling Apple CEO Tim Cook the “architect of Apple’s strategy to outsource production to China”, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley urged him to reduce dependence on Chinese workers by shifting production to the United States in an open letter.

Senator Hawley published his letter to Cook on Twitter which criticizes him for complying with the Chinese Communist Party and accuses him of implementing changes on iOS to oppress dissenting voices.

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Senator gives Tim Cook till Dec 6 to respond to 5 questions concerning the Chinese government

Senator Hawley accused the tech giant of aiding the Chinese government in suppressing human rights based on recent events in China like the enforcement of strict lockdowns as per its zero-COVID-19 policy, a 10-minute restriction for AirDrop everyone, and riots at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant. He also suggested that it was time for Apple to move away from China and establish its production units in the United States.

More importantly, the Senator penned five questions for Cook to answer by December 6, 2022, which asked when would Apple condemn the treatment of protestors at the Foxconn plant, how the company tells material risks to its stakeholders, what is being done to expand domestic manufacturing and why was AirDrop to everyone restriction introduced in iOS 16.1.1. 

  1. Apple has not condemned the treatment of workers who manufacture its products in China, including the physical violence inflicted upon them by Chinese law enforcement in Zhengzhou. When will Apple issue a statement condemning this treatment? and Why has it not done so already?
  2. Given the Chinese Community Party’s commitment to a zero-COVID policy, please detail the material risks associated with Apple’s continued dependency on China for the manufacturer of its products. How does Apple community these risks to its stakeholders?
  3. If China were to invade Taiwan, what impact would this have on Apple’s ability to manufacture and sell its products? How does Apple communicate these risks to its stakeholders?
  4. Please detail Apple’s plan to diversify its supply chain and production networks, including any plans to expand manufacturing of its products in the United States with American workers. 
  5. Why did Apple modify the AirDrop feature in China in a manner that makes it more difficult for Chinese protestors to communicate amongst themselves? Please provide all communication between Apple and Chinese Communist Party officials concerning the AirDrop feature in the iOS 16.1.1 update. 

In the letter, Senator also connected the rumor of Twitter’s removal from the App Store for its new free speech policies to implementing the Chinese model of speech control in the United States. 

Earlier, it was reported that Tim Cook has scheduled meetings with top GOP lawmakers in Washington ahead of Republicans’ takeover of the House in early 2023. Reportedly, he will meet with representatives who are expected to lead committees overseeing the tech industry when Republicans will gain a majority in the House.

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Addicted to social media and in love with iPhone, started blogging as a hobby. And now it's my passion for every day is a new learning experience. Hopefully, manufacturers will continue to use innovative solutions and we will keep on letting you know about them.

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