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President Trump met with two dozen of the country's major companies on Thursday, including executives from General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Ford and Dow Chemical, concerning economic policies and job growth.
The organizer for the manufacturing working group, Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris, commented that the manufacturing CEOs felt encouraged by the pro-business policies and agendas by the Trump administration.
"It was very much a working session today following a month ago when we first met with the president. Needless to say, we in the manufacturing sector, all the CEOs that were here today and in the last meeting, are very encouraged by the pro-business policies of President Trump and his Cabinet," Liveris said in the press conference. "Some of us have said this is the most pro-business administration since the Founding Fathers. There is no question that the language of business is occurring here at the White House. "
Liveris commented to CNBC that some of these tax and pro-growth policies could come as early as this fall.
"My whole sense of this administration in the 30 days of working with them is urgency on the business side. They really want to get the barriers out of the way," Liveris said. "If it goes much beyond the fall, I would be staggered. The repeal of [the Affordable Care Act] is probably a higher priority, but tax reform, right up there."
And even though Liveris said that manufacturing CEOs are pro-adjustment tax, he stopped short in confirming whether or not Trump approved of the controversial tax. However, Liveris said Trump recognized how unbalanced tax regulations are internationally.
"[Trump] is thinking about how to make it fair. He said it is unfair now, tax regimens in one country versus tax regimens in another, and how China and Mexico deals with us, " Liveris said. "Everyone has a [value-added tax] of some sort. That looms large. Should we put in place a border-adjustment tax, a.k.a. VAT? They're definitely debating and thinking it through, obviously no decisions. Is it a priority? Absolutely."
Liveris also made comments during the press conference about plans to bring back manufacturing jobs to the U.S and emphasizing vocational training to fulfill STEM-related jobs.
"We have supply issues today: We have half a million open STEM jobs that we can't fill. We need to fill them with Americans and we need to do that as a priority," Liveris said. "The manufacturing jobs we're talking about are in the value trains all the way from basic manufacturing to advanced manufacturing. We really brought back in very robust conversations, with the CEOs in the room and the president listening very intently and making great comments on the notion that the supply side in STEM and vocational training needs a national systemic fix."