Trump tells manufacturers he will cut regulations, taxes

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<span class="articleLocation”>U.S. President Donald Trump met with a dozen
American manufacturers at the White House on Monday, pledging to
slash regulations and cut corporate taxes, but warning them he
would impose taxes on imports if they move production outside
the country.

Trump, who took office on Friday, promised to bring
manufacturing plants back to the United States – an issue he
said helped him win the Nov. 8 election – and has not hesitated
to call out by name companies that he thinks should bring
outsourced production back home.

He asked the group of chief executives from companies
including Ford, Dell Technologies, Tesla and others to make recommendations in 30 days to stimulate
manufacturing, Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris told
reporters.

Trump, a Republican who took over from former Democratic
President Barack Obama, was expected to sign executive orders
later on Monday to renegotiate the free trade agreement between
the United States, Canada and Mexico, and to formally withdraw
the United States from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The new president told the CEOs that he would like to cut
corporate taxes to the 15 percent to 20 percent range, down from
current statutory levels of 35 percent – a pledge that will
require cooperation from the Republican-led U.S. Congress.

But he said business leaders have told him that reducing
regulations is even more important.

“We think we can cut regulations by 75 percent. Maybe more,”
Trump told business leaders.

“When you want to expand your plant, or when Mark wants to
come in and build a big massive plant, or when Dell wants to
come in and do something monstrous and special – you’re going to
have your approvals really fast,” Trump said, referring to Mark
Fields, CEO of Ford, who sat around the boardroom-style table in
the Roosevelt Room.

The meeting ran longer than expected. Trump left briefly to
attend to a phone call, and then reconvened the CEOs in the Oval
Office, Liveris said.

Fields said he was encouraged by the tone.

“I know I come out with a lot of confidence that the
president is very, very serious on making sure that the United
States economy is going to be strong and have policies – tax,
regulatory or trade – to drive that,” he said.

Trump told the executives that companies were welcome to
negotiate with governors to move production between states, but
said those businesses that choose to move factories outside the
country would pay a price.

‘MAJOR BORDER TAX’

“We are going to be imposing a very major border tax on the
product when it comes in,” Trump said.

“A company that wants to fire all of its people in the
United States, and build some factory someplace else, and then
thinks that that product is going to just flow across the border
into the United States – that’s not going to happen,” he said.

Liveris said the CEOs discussed the border tax “quite a bit”
with Trump, explaining “the sorts of industry that might be
helped or hurt by that.”

“Look: I would take the president at his word here. He’s not
going to do anything to harm competitiveness. He’s going to
actually make us all more competitive,” Liveris said.

Trump was scheduled to hold a meeting later on Monday with
labor leaders and U.S. workers, the White House said.

Between winning the presidential election in November and
taking office, Trump hosted a number of U.S. CEOs in meetings in
New York, including business leaders from defense, technology
and other sectors. He also met with leaders of several labor
unions, including the AFL-CIO.

Trump, a real estate developer who had never previously held
elected office, has particularly focused on manufacturing,
lamenting during his inaugural address on Friday about “rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the
landscape of our nation” and vowing to boost U.S. industries
over foreign ones.



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