FedEx and UPS top bosses in memo to Trump: Keep the US globally competitive

15 / 08 / 2017

US logistics giants and fierce rivals UPS and FedEx have joined forces by calling on the US Congress and the Trump Administration to work on policy reforms to keep the US globally competitive

In a signed editorial published in the influential Wall Street Journal, FedEx Corp chairman and chief executive Fred Smith, and UPS chairman and chief executive David Abney write that they stand "shoulder to shoulder on the need to make government polices more equitable, growth oriented and simple" .

The piece by the two global supply chain business leaders begins: “At a time when the US needs unity and bold reforms, American businesses must be partners in building the future. While the business community has diverse interests, every company should agree on basic policy priorities if we want to be globally competitive. That’s why we are speaking out together — two fierce competitors.”

Abney and Smith said that the US is at an "inflection point" due to an explosion of technological innovation and urban population growth.

Despite this, the two men observed that the US is "not seizing the opportunity to grow our economy fast enough," adding: "From our discussion with diverse audiences — entry level workers to fellow CEOs, from city councils to the highest levels in Washington — we believe that business and government can forge a consensus on policies that work for America."

Abney and Smith spoke of the need for more ambitious targets for US economic growth, stating: "The 2% annual growth of recent years isn't enough. Thinking bigger will encourage company planners to innovate and unleash productivity.

"Both UPS and FedEx are competing to stay ahead of the booming e-commerce market by expanding and launching new technologies. With the right policies in place, everyone can prosper."

In as wish-list to the Trump administration, the two men call for simpler taxes, saying that "the principles of simple, fair and progressive taxation are vital," citing studies which show that a permanent lowering of corporate tax rates by 10 percentage points would increase annual gross domestic product (GDP) by 1% to 2% "without lowering tax revenue".

They also want to see increased investment in the US transport system, including roads and airports, saying that the US lags behind China and India in infrastructure spending.

The third point focuses on free and fair trade, a point of tension between some sections of the the US business community and President Donald Trump whose "America first" campaign pledge is seen as heralding a new wave of protectionist policies by the new US administration.

In their joint article, Abney and Smith write: "In a globally connected world, trade is vital to every American. with 95% of the world's consumers located outside the US, we need to lead globalisation through negotiation of high-standard free-trade agreements. Similarly, policies like Open Skies have enabled companies like ours to serve a global marketplace."

They add that efforts to negotiate new, modern trade deals will be "game changers" and state: "US companies don't fear competition, but we need policies that keep it fair."

In conclusion, the duo comment: "Now is the time for Americans to think and act boldly. By coming together and rallying around these key initiatives, we can increase global prosperity.

"If fierce competitors can agree on these fundamental policy priorities, can't we all?"