Export companies tell U.S. Congress to push tax code rewrite

February 21, 2017 10:39 AM

Chief executive officers of 16 companies, including Boeing Co, Caterpillar Inc and General Electric Co, have urged the U.S. Congress to pass a comprehensive tax code rewrite, including a controversial border tax.

In a letter to Republican and Democratic leadership on Tuesday, the CEOs said a Republican-proposed border adjustment tax would make U.S.-manufactured products more competitive abroad and at home by making imported goods face the same level of taxation.

"If we miss this chance to fundamentally reshape the tax code, it might take another 30 years before we have another chance to try," the group of CEOs wrote in the letter, according to a copy that Reuters obtained.

It is the latest move in a back-and-forth lobbying effort from companies that proposed changes to the tax code would affect.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan has proposed lowering the corporate income tax to 20 % from 35 %, imposing a 20 % tax on imports and excluding export revenue from taxable income.

The proposal has pitted large U.S. corporations that require imports, like retailers and auto manufacturers, against those that export much of their goods and therefore support the tax code changes.

A group of retail CEOs met last week with President Donald Trump and congressional leaders to argue against the border adjustment tax.

Trump is expected to release his own tax proposal in the coming weeks. While he has said the border adjustment tax is too "complicated," his administration has said taxing goods from Mexico could fund construction of a wall along the nation's southern border.

The letter supporting the border tax was signed by 16 CEOs: Dennis Muilenburg of Boeing, John Coors of CoorsTek, Jim Umpleby of Caterpillar, Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical Co, Mark Rohr of Celanese Corp; Jeffrey Immelt of GE, Mark Alles of Celgene Corp, David Ricks of Eli Lilly and Co, Tony Simmons of McIlhenny Co, Thomas Kennedy of Raytheon Co, Kenneth Frazier of Merck & Co Inc, Douglas Peterson of S&P Global Inc, Safra Catz of Oracle Corp, Gregory Hayes of United Technologies Corp, Ian Read of Pfizer Inc and Dow Wilson of Varian Medical Systems Inc.

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