Apple scored a victory in a long-running battle to avoid tariffs on goods imported from China, as US authorities granted an exemption for its Watch devices.

The exemption applies to finished Watch products rather than just components, and will allow Apple to duck a 7.5 per cent tariff applied to certain imports from China.

Apple originally faced a 15 per cent tariff on its smartwatches, but US President Donald Trump in January halved the rate for certain goods.

The company has long sought to sidestep trade tensions between the two countries. In December 2019, it narrowly avoided a 15 per cent tariff on its iPhone, iPad and MacBook laptops after President Trump suspended the fees following the signing of a new trade agreement with China.

In its application to exempt the Watch, Apple stated there was no comparable product available from sources within the US. It added it was unable to identify a supply source outside of China which was able to meet US demand for the product.

Requests for waivers of tariffs on imports of finished AirPods, HomePod and iMac desktop computer products, as well as component parts for its iPhone, remain under review.