Apple to create $1 billion U.S. advanced manufacturing fund

News 04 May 2017

left right FILE PHOTO: Apple CEO Tim Cook waves as he arrives on stage to deliver his keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S. June 8, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo 1/2 left right FILE PHOTO: The Apple logo is pictured inside the newly opened Omotesando Apple store at a shopping district in Tokyo June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo 2/2 By Stephen Nellis | SAN FRANCISCO

SAN FRANCISCO Apple Inc (AAPL.O) plans to create a $1 billion fund to invest in U.S. companies that perform advanced manufacturing, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said on Wednesday, the iPhone maker's latest effort to show how it is creating U.S. jobs.

The Cupertino, California company will announce the fund's first investment later in May, Cook said during an interview on CNBC.

Cook also said Apple plans to fund programs that could include teaching people how to write computer code to create apps, and will release more details about the effort this summer.

The announcements were the latest in a series of disclosures to highlight how Apple, the world's largest company by market valuation, contributes to job creation in the United States. Apple came under fire from President Donald Trump during his campaign because it makes most of its products in China.

In February during the company's annual shareholder meeting, Cook said Apple spent $50 billion in 2016 with its U.S. suppliers, which include firms like 3M Co (MMM.N) and Corning Inc (GLW.N), the first time Apple has disclosed the metric.

Cook reiterated that point during the CNBC interview, along with Apple's claim that it has created 2 million jobs in the United States, 80,000 of which are directly at Apple and the rest coming from suppliers and software developers for the company's app ecosystem.

Apple is highlighting its U.S. presence at the same time lawmakers consider a major tax proposal by Trump that would let Apple, along with other large companies, bring back accumulated profits from overseas at potentially lower tax rates. Ninety-three percent of Apple's $256.8 billion cash is held overseas.

Cook, who met with lawmakers in Washington earlier this year to discuss tax policy and technology issues, said that Apple would have to borrow the cash for its U.S. manufacturing investment fund and said he was hopeful Trump administration would address the repatriation issue.

Cook stopped short of saying Apple would bring some of its cash back into the United States if Trump's tax proposal was enacted.

"To invest in the United States, we have to borrow. This doesn't make sense on a broad basis. So I think the administration, you saw they're really getting this and want to bring this (cash) back. And I hope that comes to pass," Cook said in response to a question about tax reform.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker)

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