Donald Trump to meet US business leaders on infrastructure, tax reform

US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, US on April 7, 2017.
US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, US on April 7, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump will meet with about 20 chief executives on Tuesday (April 11) as he works to gain support for a US$1 trillion (S$1.4 trillion) infrastructure programme, tax reform and other administration priorities, said White House spokesman Sean Spicer.

Trump will meet with the heads of General Motors Co, International Business Machines Corp and Wal-Mart Stores Inc, a government official briefed on the matter said.

Trump has pledged to unlock US$1 trillion in private and public infrastructure investments to fix bridges, improve the electrical grid and broadband internet, modernize airports and potentially rebuild hospitals for veterans.

Nearly three months after his inauguration, Trump will again seek the advice and funds of the private sector for his "national rebuilding"programme.

Trump also wants to streamline the income tax system, cut federal regulations, reduce corporate income tax and add new taxes to prod companies to keep or move production to the United States. He has held numerous sessions with CEOs since taking office.

The chief executives are part of Trump's "Strategy and Policy Forum" that was created in December and last met with the president on Feb 3.

The business leaders from a variety of sectors will also meet in small groups with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, Spicer said.

Participants in Ross' meeting include Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon and Indra Nooyi, chief executive officer of PepsiCo Inc . Pruitt's meeting will include GM CEO Mary Barra and Paul Atkins, CEO of Patomak Global Partners LLC and a Republican former SEC commissioner. Chao's meeting will include Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, who heads the world's largest investment management firm, in a letter to shareholders Monday backed calls for private investment to rebuild U.S. infrastructure. The Trump administration plans to unveil as soon as May the US$1 trillion infrastructure plan over 10 years.

"Fixing crumbling roads and bridges is not enough. We need to be focused on reshaping our world, not just repairing it,"Fink wrote.

Last week, Trump pitched infrastructure projects to about 50 New York area CEOs. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn told executives that privatizing air traffic control, which the administration proposed in its budget outline in March, could be a big boost.

Other chief executives taking part Tuesday include consultant EY, Boston Consulting Group, the Cleveland Clinic and Global Infrastructure Partners, an infrastructure investment fund.