Post-Election

Retailers, Energy, Auto Companies Gearing Up To Fight US Tax On Imports

A group of retailer lobbyists, energy companies and the auto industry is gearing up to fight against a proposed U.S. tax on imports.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, along with more than 120 other trade groups, are supporting a movement dubbed “Americans for Affordable Products,” which will focus on how a border tax will raise prices for consumers. The group is also trying to send the message that companies focused on exports may see their federal taxes cut, potentially even to zero. Bloomberg said the fight is pitting net importers against exporters, with the proposed reworking of the corporate tax code rewarding companies that hawk products outside the U.S., while hurting those that use low-cost suppliers outside of the U.S.

“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 for Bloomberg Intelligence, in the report. “It’s going to be an absolutely huge fight.”

Bloomberg noted that supporters of the move say a 20 percent border-adjusted tax would boost domestic production, but opponents argue it will force companies to pass the increased cost to consumers.

“You’re a consumer: Are you ready to pay 20–25 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.”

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