Manufacturing Summit will be Making Retail CEOs Nervous

Donald Trump appeared receptive to a plan to tax imports pressed by the CEOs of exporters.

Some of the biggest names in manufacturing got to spend over an hour putting their case for a border-adjustment tax to Donald Trump yesterday, possibly swinging the pendulum in their favor as an increasingly bitter dispute with retail CEOs grinds on.

After emerging from yesterday’s meeting with around two dozen CEOs, Trump told Reuters the border tax proposal had positive elements, though he didn’t specifically endorse the plan. His comments were the most supportive yet, given that he has previously described it as complicated.

Companies that sell many goods overseas, such as Boeing and GE, have embraced the plan advanced by House Republicans to tax imports by 20% while making profits on exports tax deductible amid a broader corporate tax cut.

“Tax reform a high priority for job creation. Business community will come together to help find a workable solution.

“It could lead to a lot more jobs in the United States,” the president said.

During the portion of the meeting open to the media, Trump lamented an apparent hemorrhaging of jobs overseas and pledged to bring millions back to the U.S. Exporters argue that more favorable tax treatment would strengthen their profits, giving them scope to employ and train more local people.

After the meeting manufacturing CEOs made upbeat comments, though none of them talked specifically about the border tax either. On his Twitter feed, GE CEO Jeff Immelt said: “Tax reform a high priority for job creation. Business community will come together to help find a workable solution.”

Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris, who is leading the manufacturing council, said he was “very encouraged” by Trump’s pro-business stance, while Merck CEO Ken Frazier said it was “very clear the president is interested in lessening the tax burden.”

All three men were among 16 CEO signatories of a letter sent Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan backing the border adjustment tax. They are all part of the Made in America Coalition, which also includes Boeing and Pfizer.

On the other side of the debate, a band of more than 100 retail CEOs calling themselves the Americans for Affordable Products coalition fear a 20% import tax would push up the cost of common household items—and wipe out their profits.

CEOs associated with the group, including Wal-Mart Stores’ Doug McMillon, will be hoping the pendulum swings back in their direction soon.

“This is the next zig of a zig-zag pattern,” David French, head of government relations for the National Retail Federation said. “This is the beginning of a long process.”

Access the list of manufacturing council members here.
The list of retail CEOs can be found here.


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events

    Roundtable

    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)

     

    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.