[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump will meet Thursday with corporate chief executives to discuss job creation and his plans to craft new tax and trade policies.
A rotating cast of US business leaders have visited Mr Trump at the White House since his inauguration, and at Thursday's meeting with manufacturers White House aides say Mr Trump plans to solicit ideas to help jump-start the American economy.
"As a successful businessman himself, the president knows that if we're going to get the country back to work, we need to hear directly from job creators what is holding them back and where appropriate take steps to remove the barriers," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Wednesday. Mr Spicer didn't say which CEOs would participate.
Johnson & Johnson's chairman and CEO, Alex Gorsky, will attend the meeting, a company spokesman said. David Farr, chairman of Emerson Electric, is planning to attend the meeting on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group representing 14,000 member companies.
Mr Farr and other board members of the association are planning a national tour of factories over the coming week to promote policy changes they hope to see from the Trump administration and Congress. The tour will feature stops at the facilities of companies including General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, and Anheuser-Busch Inbev.
At Thursday's meeting the White House plans to separate the corporate leaders into working groups, focusing on areas including deregulation, workforce training, infrastructure, taxes, and trade.
Vice-President Mike Pence and White House aides will meet with the groups and compile their recommendations for the president ahead of his meeting with the full group executives.
"As you can tell by the structure of the meeting, the president is expecting these interactions to lead to real action being taken by the administration," Mr Spicer said.
It wasn't immediately clear whether Mr Trump would address his plans to overhaul the tax code, which he has said he will deliver within weeks, or a border-adjustment tax proposal under consideration by House Republicans, which would shift the tax burden from exporters to importers.
Republican leaders in the House, including Speaker Paul Ryan, argue a border-adjustment tax would benefit American manufacturing while providing revenue to make up for losses from reducing overall corporate tax rates. Several manufacturers including Dow Chemical are actively lobbying for the plan, which Trump has called "too complicated".
Opponents, including net importers like Walmart, oppose it and warn it will raise taxes on American consumers.
Mr Trump has used previous meetings with companies to encourage corporate leaders to build their products in the US, offering tax breaks and lower regulation to bring down costs - and warning that he wants to raise tariffs on products produced overseas. The heads of labor organisations, automotive firms, national retail chains, drug companies, and airlines are all among the groups who have met with Mr Trump in the West Wing in recent weeks.