HPE chief exec Neri: US-China trade spat? Meh, that ain't no thang for us

'Minimal' effect on biz, boss bravely predicts

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HPE Discover The ongoing US-China trade squabble will have little effect on HPE, chief exec Antonio Neri boldly predicted to the world's tech press.

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Speaking at HPE's Discover conference in Madrid earlier this week, Neri reckoned the international spat would not have more than a "minimal" effect on the business.

"There have been four phases of that discussion" over tariffs, Neri told the press at a briefing. "The first two phases have no impact for us. The third one has some impact for us, how we are able to mitigate it, obviously they have to adjust to it. The fourth one has minimal impact if any at all."

The first two phases of US tariffs on Chinese imports covered (among many other industrial components and chemicals for sectors including cars, robotics and aerospace) disk drives, PCB components and "electronic integrated circuits: processors and controllers", hitting industry players such as Cisco and Juniper quite hard – and price hikes being, inevitably, passed on to customers.

With HPE still leading in server revenues as late as last December, it was not immediately clear what Neri was basing his Wednesday statement on, though he said: "The third one was where we had most impact, mostly on our networking business because it's such a simple kind of solution, you don't have to manufacture locally... but it was not as big as we thought."

As for the proposed fourth round of tariffs' impact on HPE, Neri commented: "Number four, the type of components involved will have an impact on us. We've done a good job but we have a very sophisticated supply chain. Time to deliver is an aspect of that. Security is another aspect. All the stability with it is another aspect and then there's the cost, tax aspect."

HP Inc chief exec Dion Weisler previously said that, as far as his consumer-goods-based company was concerned, the next round of tariffs due in January "would be harder to mitigate given that the ecosystem is entrenched in China from a components perspective", rhetorically asking: "The bigger question comes with the retaliatory position that China might take. What other tensions does that drive?" ®


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