Retailers oppose Trump border tax in White House meeting
February 16, 2017,
CEOs from several major U.S. retailers met with President Trump at the White House yesterday to express their opposition to the proposed Border Adjustment Tax, arguing the move would drive up the price of goods for consumers.
The retailers also spoke with the president about overhauling the corporate tax law and investments in infrastructure improvements, and met with the heads of the two tax-writing congressional committees - Kevin Brady, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
The border tax proposal, which would impose a 20% tax on imports and exclude export revenue from taxable income, could offset the benefits of Brady’s and Speaker Paul Ryan’s push to cut the corporate income tax to 20% from 35% for retailers and other companies that rely heavily on imports.
In his remarks to the retailers, Trump said he’s “cutting regulations big league,” and explained his regulatory reduction method called “one and one.”
“You have a very, very big regulatory problem and we're going to take care of that because I want more jobs. ... As you know, the overregulation costs our economy an estimated $2 trillion a year, which is incredible - $2 trillion - and it costs your businesses a lot of money, tremendous amounts of money and time. I've taken executive action to create a permanent structure of regulatory reduction by creating one and one. So basically, for every one regulation, two are out. So we knock out two. So we put in one, but to put in one, you have to knock out two. That's the least of it, but it's an important symbol.”
The retailers also emphasized their industry's contributions to job growth during the economic recovery and the damage that cost increases, resulting from the tax code’s overhaul, could bring about.
"This is a plan that we think is risky and unproven," said David French, senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation. "We would urge them to reconsider this approach."
The retailers who met with Trump are members of the Americans for Affordable Products coalition, a movement that launched earlier this month with a national campaign to engage consumers, and to "show lawmakers that pursuing tax policy that will result in higher costs for their customers on everyday items including food, gas and clothing is the wrong approach."
While the retailers oppose the tax, a group of major U.S. exporters including Boeing Co., General Electric and Pfizer Inc. have formed a coalition to support the import tax.
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