Best Buy CEO: Washington is turning against the border tax

Best Buy CEO bets BAT won't happen

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly said he's personally not betting on a border adjustment tax — and the mood in Washington appears to be shifting that way as well.

"I think, there are a growing number of people in Washington that understand [border adjustment tax] is a risky gamble with potential devastating consequences for American families," Joly said, responding to CNBC questions on a call with reporters. "If I had to place a personal estimation, it would be that the BAT is not going to happen."

Joly's comments come as Republican lawmakers debate a tax reform bill that could add a tax to nearly all imported goods, a so-called border adjustment tax. Executives from Target to Hewlett Packard Enterprise have voiced opposition to the tax, which could disrupt supply chains and raise prices.

Hubert Joly, chairman and chief executive officer of Best Buy Co.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Joly said he senses that President Donald Trump — known for his dealmaking in the business world — would prefer to have bilateral negotiations with individual countries, rather than a blanket policy. An across-the-board tax takes away America's negotiation power, Joly said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told CNBC on Tuesday that border adjustment has "a long way to go." Still, informal Trump advisor Larry Kudlow told CNBC the White House appears to lean toward supporting border adjustment.

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.