WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said he has an economic development bill, “which nobody knows about,” that would provide incentives to keep companies in the U.S. and “severely” penalize them if they move offshore.
“It’s both a carrot and a stick,” Trump said in an interview with Forbes that appeared online Tuesday.
“It is an incentive to stay. But it is perhaps even more so — if you leave, it’s going to be very tough for you to think that you’re going to be able to sell your product back into our country,” he said.
Trump told Forbes that “you are hearing about it for the first time.”
The bill would provide “economic development incentives for companies to be here,” Trump said. U.S. companies that send jobs overseas would “get penalized severely,” he said.
A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for further details.
During his campaign, presidential candidate Trump blasted U.S. companies for moving jobs overseas and threatened to slap heavy tariffs on products they tried to bring into the country from abroad. But the Trump administration has not proposed any broad new tariffs.
Trump also said during the campaign that he wanted to pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The U.S. is in talks with Canada and Mexico to try to renegotiate the pact.
“I happen to think that NAFTA will have to be terminated if we’re going to make it good,” Trump told Forbes.
House Republicans had advocated for including a border-adjustment tax as part of tax overhaul legislation that would have provided incentives for companies that manufacture products in the U.S. The plan would have exempted corporate profits made on exports while imposing a new tax on goods imported by U.S. companies.
The provision was controversial, and the Trump administration and congressional Republicans decided in July to leave it out of broader tax overhaul negotiations. A framework for the overhaul was released last month but has yet to be turned into legislation.