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The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and CEOs of several large US retail companies met President Donald Trump on February 15 to discuss US tax reform, and to express their opposition to the proposal for border adjustability.
In his opening remarks at the "Listening Session" in the White House, the President reiterated that his Administration is "going to lower [tax] rates very, very substantially for virtually everybody in every category, including personal and business."
The US tax code, he said, is to be reformed "to help middle-income families and American businesses grow and thrive. Tax reform is one of the best opportunities to really impact our economy. So we're doing a massive tax plan."
"It's coming along really well," he added. "It will be submitted in the not-too-distant future, and it will be not only good and simpler – it will be … big numbers of savings."
He made no mention of the House Republican Party's controversial provision for a border adjustment tax (BAT). That proposal, which would impose a tax on imposed on imports and provide tax rebates on exported goods, has been attacked by its opponents as having the potential to increase the cost of everyday imported consumption items, including food, gas, and clothing.
US companies that rely heavily on imports, such as retailers, are therefore pointing out strongly that the introduction of the BAT could outweigh the benefit of a lower headline corporate tax in a future US tax reform framework.
However, the RILA statement issued following the Trump meeting also did not mention the BAT. RILA Chairman Bill Rhodes merely commented that "we stressed the importance of taking a thoughtful approach to tax reform for both individuals and corporations. The retail industry is the nation's largest private sector employer providing and supporting more than 42m American jobs. The President understands we support pro-growth policies that we believe will lead to greater domestic investment."
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