Apr 4, 2018

Analyst: Trump tweets may trigger foreign scrutiny of Amazon

Amazon warehouse in Castel San Giovanni, Italy. Photo: Emanuele Cremaschi / Getty

Trump's attacks on Amazon are likely to put the company under added tax scrutiny by foreign governments, according to a report by Wells Fargo.

Why it matters: Ken Sena, a senior analyst with the bank, said Trump's multi-day Twitter rant regarding retail closures and his "perceptions of Amazon tax evasion stand to play well to some foreign and state governments who conceivably share the president’s concerns."

Sena wrote:

  • "As the potential exists for the rhetoric and tweet barrage to intensify, we see the president’s actions as potentially stirring additional scrutiny of Amazon, beyond the Federal government, particularly where tax is concerned."
  • "This is likely true even though many of us remember the Presidential debate where we heard from the President how not paying federal taxes 'makes me smart.'”

The European Union has already had Amazon, as well as the rest of American big tech companies, under its gaze:

  • In October, the EU ordered Amazon to pay $294 million because of an "illegal tax advantage."
  • Last month, the EU said it may charge all the big tech companies a digital tax of 3% on gross revenue in individual countries.

Tesla's potential hit: Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclay's, says Tesla may become another victim of Trump's most recent tirades, in this case his trade tariffs against China.

  • China has added a 25% levy on top of an already-existing import tariff on foreign cars. Currently, a Tesla Model S 100D costs $148,000 in China, versus $94,000 in the U.S. The new tariff will go on top of that.
  • Last year, Tesla sold 17% of its cars in China. Unlike most other carmakers, Tesla doesn't manufacture any vehicles in China.

Go deeper

White House recommends Americans wear masks in public

New Yorker wearing a homemade face covering. Photo: Selcuk Acar/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The White House announced that the CDC is recommending Americans wear cloth masks or face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, President Trump said at a press briefing on Friday — emphasizing the guidance is "voluntary."

Why it matters: The use of face coverings could stop people who have the virus, whether they have symptoms or not, from spreading it further when they go out in public.

Trump calls to fill up more places with oil

President Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil, in the wake of rock-bottom prices and an ensuing economic collapse of the sector itself.

Driving the news: Trump’s comments came Friday during a televised portion of a meeting he hosted with industry CEOs to discuss ways to help the sector. It’s reeling from a historic drop-off in demand with the world shutting down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 1,083,084 — Total deaths: 58,243 — Total recoveries: 225,422Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 266,671 — Total deaths: 6,921 — Total recoveries: 9,445Map.
  3. 2020 latest: Wisconsin governor calls for last-minute primary election delay.
  4. Oil latest: The amount of gasoline American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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