Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has sought permission to construct a plant for building data center gear and to engage in the manufacture of high-tech products in Mesa, Arizona. This information came to the light through a United States federal government notice. The Federal Register notice that appeared on Monday suggested that Apple was seeking the Foreign-Trade Zones Board’s approval in order to manufacture products in a specially designated zone and thus enjoy exemption from paying certain customs duties.
Not for end-consumers
According to the filing that was made in July, the products that would be manufactured at the Mesa facility were not aimed at end-consumers but rather for Apple’s data centers.
“The nature of the product is not for end users but for other global data centers what will be supported from the site,” says the filing.
In places like North Carolina and Oregon where Apple has data centers, the server gear deployed in these locations is built, assembled and tested at the particular sites. The California, Cupertino-based tech giant is now seeking to centralize those efforts in Mesa. From the Arizona location, the data center gear will then be shipped to other locations in the United States.
Apple is already in possession of a Mesa facility that had been previously leased to a sapphire screen coverings manufacturer. An application for customs duty exemption status was initially put in in early 2014 but the supplier never got around to finishing the manufacturing of the sapphire screen coverings due to bankruptcy. The facility had in the meantime been acting as a center for storing and serving iTunes and iCloud backups.
In the crosshairs of Trump
The development comes amidst Apple receiving a lot of flak from President-elect Trump for moving jobs overseas by manufacturing products such as the iPhone abroad. If Apple goes ahead to manufacture in Arizona, it would be going against the grain since the trend for tech firms in the United States has been to manufacture abroad where labor costs are lower.
In Thursday’s trading, shares of Apple Inc fell by 0.42% to close the day at $119.25 a piece.