Trump escalates attack on Amazon, focusing on tax and shipping

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump accused Amazon.com Inc of not paying enough tax, taking advantage of the US postal system and putting small retailers out of business, but he offered no evidence to back up his criticisms and did not suggest any actions he would take.
Trump has attacked Amazon and its Chief Executive Jeff Bezos several times, and his latest comment came a day after news website Axios reported he was obsessed with the world’s largest online retailer and wanted to rein in its growing power, possibly with federal antitrust or competition laws.
“I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the US), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!” Trump tweeted early on Thursday. The retailer and cloud computing pioneer is the latest company Trump has singled out for praise or condemnation, although the effect on stock prices of his targets is generally short-lived.
Trump’s attacks on Amazon reflect a broader debate about its effect on the US economy. It employs many of its 566,000 full and part-time staff in the United States and has allowed some small vendors to thrive on its service, but it has also been blamed by some for putting brick-and-mortar stores out of business as more people shop online.
The Seattle-based company has promised to create 50,000 new jobs as it invests $5 billion in a second headquarters in North America. Amazon’s choice of location for the new campus, winnowed to 20 candidates in January, has sparked fierce competition between state and local governments offering extensive tax breaks.
Amazon has been criticized for attempting to skirt state sales taxes, but since April last year it has voluntarily collected state sales tax on items it sells direct to customers in all 45 states that have one. Amazon does not have to collect taxes on third-party sellers using its Marketplace service.
It is not clear that Amazon is responsible for the United States Postal Service (USPS) losing money, although Wall Street analysts have estimated it pays USPS roughly half what it would to United Parcel Service Inc or FedEx Corp to deliver a package. — Reuters