A US Corporate Tax Cut May Spur Worldwide Growth

So what may happen after our country cuts it tax rates?

In our view, the big potential positive surprise that will surface from the tax bill will be, not just the repatriation of funds by American companies, but the movement of foreign companies to locate operations within our shores. The just reported US Q3 GDP was $19.1 Trillion and the consumer portion was $13.4 Trillion, or 68% of the total. By far, our consumer market is the largest in the world and dwarfs the second largest consumer marketplace – China, where the consumer contributes around $4.3 Trillion to their economy. We believe that many foreign companies will want to locate operations here because of the attractive size of our market; because they sell their products here; and/or hope to sell their products here; and because the lower tax rate makes it more favorable to operate here as well.

Other countries have already spoken up about how the US proposed tax rate will impact their countries and what they intend on doing about it. The Epoch News (see here) noted that the US tax cuts “have Beijing in a bind” as both the “generous reductions in the corporate tax rates and the rationalization of the global tax scheme are expected to draw capital and skilled labor back to the United States.” Chen Pokong, a Chinese current affairs analyst said that “a large amount of American money, technology, and skilled labor is in China. Now American investment will leave China. For the Chinese government, this is no small shock.” Liu Shangxi of China’s Ministry of Finance noted that “We should plan for contingencies […] the next step for China must be to introduce tax reduction reforms.”

In Europe, Germany, France, Britain, and Spain have all written to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the planned tax rate changes run afoul of treaties that could distort international trade. We are skeptical about the trade argument and believe it is really an opening salvo that indicates their displeasure about the advantages that the lower rate means for the US. Specifically, the Germans are the most worried about our prospective lower tax rate and other Europeans are complaining about a “race to the bottom”. They should be worried. At the current proposed 21% tax rate, the stated US corporate tax burden will be 30% lower than Germany, 39% lower than France, 16% lower than Spain and within striking distance of the UK (21% vs.19%). Why wouldn’t that represent a shift from a disadvantageous position (favorable to Europe) to a more competitive position (favorable to the US)? We believe it does.

It also positions us well against Mexico where the US advantage will be 30% (21% vs. 30%).

Overall, a stronger US economy can be a positive for the rest of the globe as we once again reassert ourselves as the engine of economic growth for the world. To keep up, many countries will be pressured to cut their own tax rates or move to our shores which we believe will unleash a broad-based prosperity, hopefully similar to the notable advances in growth and prosperity made after the Reagan/Thatcher cuts in the 1980s.

J. Richard Fredericks is founding partner at Main Management, a participant in the ETF Strategist Channel.

A pioneer in managing all-ETF portfolios, Main Management LLC is committed to delivering liquid, transparent and cost-effective investment solutions. By combining asset allocation insights with smart implementation vehicles, Main Management offers a unique approach that translates into distinct advantages for our clients, including diversification, cost efficiency, tax awareness and transparency. http://www.mainmgt.com.