Chief executives from some of the nation's largest retailers are slated to meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday for the first time, part of their ongoing push against the controversial border adjustment tax.
About 10 executives will join the closed-door meeting with Mnuchin, including the leaders of familiar names such as AutoZone, J.C. Penney, PetSmart and Chico's. (See the full list below.) Secretary Mnuchin is attending the Retail Industry Leaders Association's board meeting.
The industry has been leading the fight against the measure, which taxes imports into the United States. Chain retailers argue that it would increase the cost of foreign products and devastate their profit margins. They say that would force them to raise prices, costing consumers $1,700 more each year.
"There is no industry that wants tax reform more than retail," said Brian Dodge, a spokesman for the Retail Industry Leaders Association. "We are eager to work with Secretary Mnuchin and the entire Trump Administration to pass pro-growth tax reform this year so that American families can keep more of the money they earn and business can invest and grow."
Under the border adjustment tax, companies would be allowed to deduct the cost of American-made goods but not foreign ones — creating an effective tax on imports. The measure is a key component of the Republican blueprint for tax reform and has been championed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas. Analysts estimate it would raise about $1 trillion in revenue, which would in turn help finance a reduction in the headline corporate rate.
In a statement, the American Made Coalition said: "Opponents have spent millions trying to stop tax reform in its tracks with the goal of preserving an outdated, broken tax system that favors foreign imports over American products and jobs."
The group has cited a survey from the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll that found that 62 percent of voters support the border adjustment tax.