General Electric Supports Republican Border Adjustment Tax on Foreign Imports

GE has joined Boeing and Oracle in supporting the House GOP proposal.
GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Gov. Charlie Baker, and Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo via Mayor's Office/Don Harney

GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Gov. Charlie Baker, and Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo via Mayor’s Office/Don Harney

General Electric has joined a coalition of more than 25 major exporters advocating for the border adjustment tax on imports proposed by House Republicans, which they say would “support American jobs and American-made products.”

The so-called “American Made Coalition,” which includes Dow Chemical, Boeing, pharmaceutical giants Eli Lilly and Pfizer, and Oracle, believes the tax system in its current form creates an uneven playing field for American business, and unfairly subsidizes foreign imports, Reuters reports.

“The American Made Coalition is committed to advancing legislation that modernizes our tax system, levels the playing field for American businesses and workers, encourages investment, incentivizes job creation in the U.S., and helps American-made products compete worldwide,” coalition spokesperson John Gentzel said. “The House tax reform blueprint has the best chance of moving real transformative tax reform for the first time in more than 30 years.”

This stance places GE at odds with retailers who rely heavily on imports, like Target and Best Buy, as well as foreign automakers like Toyota.

“The border adjustable tax is harmful, untested, and would put American retail jobs at risk and force consumers to pay as much as 20 percent more for family essentials,” said Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which is opposed to the border adjustment tax.

The border adjustment tax is part of broader corporate tax reform by House Republicans, which includes the lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent. Under this proposal, companies that import foreign goods would be unable to deduct the expense on their tax return, while companies that purchase the same goods within the United States, could.

GE chairman Jeff Immelt currently sits on President Donald Trump’s manufacturing council, alongside Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and the heads of Boeing, Dow Chemical, and Lockheed Martin. On Sunday, Immelt sent a note to employees regarding Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven majority Muslim countries.

“We are in the process of evaluating how the executive order impacts our employees around the world and we are reaching out directly to anyone we think may be impacted. This situation is very fluid and will evolve quickly in the coming days,” Immelt wrote. “I understand many of you are very concerned about the potential impacts of this order and I share your concern.”


Kyle Scott Clauss Kyle Clauss, Digital News Writer at Boston Magazine bmagdigital+kclauss@gmail.com