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Tim Cook: Apple products aren’t made in China because it’s cheaper

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 12/21/2015 By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch

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“It’s skill,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in response to a question on “60 Minutes” Sunday from Charlie Rose as to why the company’s products are made in China. 

Rose clearly wasn’t buying it. “They have more skills than American workers? They have more skills than German Workers?” he pressed.

“The U.S., over time, began to stop having as many vocational kind of skills,” Cook explained. “I mean, you can take every tool and die maker in the United States and probably put them in a room that we’re currently sitting in. In China, you would have to have multiple football fields.”

Earlier in the interview, the conversation heated up just a bit when the subject turned to allegations that Apple is a “tax avoider” and is “engaged in a sophisticated scheme” to shelter the $74 billion in revenue parked overseas.

“That is total political crap,” Cook fired back. He said he’d “love to bring it home” but doesn’t because “it would cost me 40%... and I don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to do. This is a tax code, Charlie, that was made for the industrial age, not the digital age. It’s backwards. It’s awful for America. It should have been fixed many years ago. It’s past time to get it done.”

Cook also defended the company on the thorny issue of encryption, showed off Apple’s future headquarters and, again, talked about why he came out of the closet.

Tim Cook: Apple doesn’t make its products in China because it’s cheaper© Provided by MarketWatch Tim Cook: Apple doesn’t make its products in China because it’s cheaper

The show didn’t reveal much in the way of headline-making news, like sales data on the Apple Watch or the outlook for driverless cars. The world’s most valuable company — and also one of its most secretive — knows how to control the message. Rose conceded as much after the interview.

“They don’t put the story out there until they have decided it IS the story they want to tell,” he said.

While fans surely enjoyed the view from the inside, others were unimpressed.

For the full transcript and video, which includes visits with some other high-profile Apple executives, as well as a trip into the design studio, go to CBS.com.

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