Monday, November 11, 2019

Trump to meet with retail CEOs who oppose border tax

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will welcome the chief executive officers of Target Corp (TGT.N), Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) and six other major retailers to the White House on Wednesday morning to discuss tax reform and infrastructure.

Best Buy and Target have been fighting a proposal to impose a border tax on imported goods, among sweeping changes presented by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Convincing Trump to oppose the measure would probably bring an end to it.

Trump plans to announce his own tax plan in the coming weeks.

The meeting will include Target’s Brian Cornell, Best Buy’s Hubert Joly, Gap Inc’s (GPS.N) Art Peck, Autozone Inc’s (AZO.N) William Rhodes, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc’s (WBA.O) Stefano Pessina, J.C. Penney Co Inc’s (JCP.N) Marvin Ellison, Jo-Ann Stores’ Jill Soltau and Tractor Supply Co’s (TSCO.O) Gregory Sandfort.

The group will also meet on Wednesday with the heads of the two tax-writing congressional committees, Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Brady and House Speaker Paul Ryan are leading the push to overhaul the tax code by cutting the corporate income tax to 20 percent from 35 percent, imposing a 20 percent tax on imports and excluding export revenue from taxable income.

Companies that rely heavily on imports, such as retailers, automakers and refiners, say a border tax would outweigh the benefit of a lower headline corporate tax.

Trump has voiced some concern about the House tax proposal, calling it “too complicated.” But the White House also has said a border tax on goods from Mexico is one option under review to pay for a wall along the nation’s southern border.

The prospect of a big import tax is also pitting some of the largest U.S. companies against one another. A group of major exporters, including Boeing Co (BA.N), General Electric Co (GE.N) and Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), have formed their own coalition to support the import tax.

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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