On Wednesday, President Donald Trump met with eight retail chief executives to discuss tax reform and infrastructure improvements. The meeting included:
- Target TGT CEO Brian Cornell
- Best Buy BBY CEO Hubert Joly
- Gap GPS CEO Art Peck
- Autozone AZO CEO William Rhodes
- Walgreens WBA CEO Stefano Pessina
- JCPenney JCP CEO Marvin Ellison
- Jo-Ann Stores CEO Jill Soltau
- Tractor Supply Co. TSCO CEO Gregory Sandfort
The group is also set to meet with the heads of the two tax-writing congressional committees: Kevin Brady and Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, respectively.
These retailers opposed the border adjustment tax, a Republican-backed proposal that would trim corporate income tax to 20% from 35%, exclude export revenue from taxable income, and impose a 20% tax on imports. Retailers, as well as oil refiners and automakers, believe the border tax would "outweigh the benefit of a lower headline corporate tax," according to Reuters. Critics of the tax also say it could lead to higher prices for consumers, especially on imported goods.
After the meeting was over, President Trump told reporters that tax reform is a "great way" to improve the U.S. economy. "My administration remains very focused on economic growth issues," the president continued.
And on behalf of the CEOs, William Rhodes, chief executive of Autozone, said "We stressed the importance of taking a thoughtful approach to tax reform for both individuals and corporations…the President understands we support pro-growth policies that we believe will lead to greater domestic investment." He also highlighted the 42 million jobs that the retail industry provides.
This summit is similar to President Trump's meeting with top tech leaders back in December, where he discussed topics like jobs, immigration encryption, and regulation with CEOs of Silicon Valley's biggest corporations.
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