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Retail CEOs Meet Trump, Talk Border Tax

Yesterday, retail industry executives were scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump to discuss his proposed change to the border tax. The group was said to have included top brass from Best Buy, Gap Inc. and Target. In their meeting, the retail executives reportedly planned to discuss the tax’s potential effects on consumer prices.

The gathering was also expected to include the CEOs of AutoZone, J.C. Penney Co., Jo-Ann Stores, Tractor Supply Co. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. The group is said to have met with members of Congress as well as the president, said Internet Retailer.

David French, head of government relations for the National Retail Federation, was quoted as saying, “Retailers are on the front lines of the consumer-driven U.S. economy. It is extremely important that they engage with elected officials on policies of this magnitude and that their voices be heard and acknowledged.”

The proposed reworking of the corporate tax code has pit net importers against exporters. Supporters of the proposal say a 20 percent border-adjusted tax would boost domestic production. Opponents argue it will force companies to pass the increased cost to consumers.

“You’re a consumer: Are you ready to pay 20 to 25 percent more for everything you buy?” said Steve Lamar, executive vice president of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, in the report. “Because almost everything you buy is imported.”

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, along with more than 120 other trade groups, are reportedly supporting a movement called Americans for Affordable Products. The group is attempting to show that companies focused on exports may see their federal taxes cut, potentially even to zero.

“This corporate tax reform is supposed to help all companies, but this particular provision would make it much more regressive on industries like retail, oil and gas and apparel,” said Caitlin Webber, a trade analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “It’s going to be an absolutely huge fight.”

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