Amazon, Toyota, Alcoa and others working to counter Trump’s tariff

San Francisco: Big companies in the United States from Amazon.com Inc to Toyota Motor Corp and Alcoa Corp are working to counter the effect of the Trump administration’s trade policies and to head off new tariffs.

Companies are attempting to avoid any confrontation with US President Donald Trump but want to exert as much influence as they can to dissuade him from tearing up trade agreements or introducing tariffs on a wide swath of imports.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer and cloud-computing company, which could be hurt by tariffs on items sold through its website and components for its data centers, is discussing industry-wide advertising campaigns and more extensive government lobbying, a person familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

Toyota Motor North America, a subsidiary of Japan’s Toyota, which could suffer if Trump follows through on a plan to impose tariffs on imported vehicles and parts, flew workers to Washington for a rally this week in front of the US Capitol while the unit’s chief has met key members of Congress in recent weeks to discuss the potential impact of tariffs.

Executives from General Motors Co, which could be hurt if Trump pulls out of North American Free Trade Agreement have also held meetings with the administration and Congress over the last year to raise its concerns about trade issues.

Concerns over increase in import costs

In addition to the steel and aluminum tariffs already imposed, Trump has threatened 10%  tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods which would affect thousands of imported products from furniture to network routers.

Seattle-based Amazon is concerned such tariffs would hit shoppers during the crucial holiday shopping season, the person familiar with the matter said.

Amazon has identified a wide range of items, some of them high-value, the tariffs would hit and is assessing the potential impact on its business, the person said.

High among its concerns is an increase in import costs for components used in data centers or other items that will make its cloud computing division less competitive, two people familiar with the matter said.

Amazon is not alone in the technology industry with its worries. “It’s hard to think of many of our companies that don’t have some risk and exposure as a result of the tariff,” said Dean Garfield, chief executive of IT Industry Council, which counts Amazon rivals Microsoft Corp , Alphabet Inc’s Google and others as members.