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Trump Attacks on Amazon, It Does Not Pay Enough Taxes

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President Donald Trump is once again calling out Amazon, complaining in a tweetThursday morning about the e-commerce giant’s business practices.

The president took aim at Amazon’s tax contributions, its use of the US Postal Service and practices that put “many thousands of retailers out of business!”

The accusations aren’t new. The tweet was likely prompted by an Axios story on Wednesday that claimed Trump was weighing “going after” Amazon over alleged antitrust activities or violations of competition laws.

The Axios story appeared to contribute to a selloff of Amazon stock Wednesday, with Amazon shares dropping 4.4 percent, even though Trump’s disdain for Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, was already well-known. Bezos owns The Washington Post, whose coverage has been less than glowing about the new president, which may be a factor in Trump’s attacks.

Following all of Trump’s complaints about Amazon, though, the question remains whether he would try to take action against the company. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday responded to the Axios report, saying: “We have no announcements and no specific policies or actions that we’re currently pushing forward or considering taking.”

On Thursday, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told “Fox & Friends” that Trump’s tweets weren’t about personal animus against Bezos, but about ensuring tax policy for internet companies and brick-and-mortar retailers is fair.

Amazon hasn’t responded to the Axios story or to Trump’s latest tweet. The company’s shares were down about 1 percent Thursday.

The stock decline for Amazon comes amid a broader selloff in tech and financial stocks, with Facebook especially taking a beating amid a scandal over the misuse of user data by polling company Cambridge Analytica. Those troubles may have created a negative backdrop for Amazon’s decline Wednesday.

Trump is likely tapping into concerns among the public and other retailers that Amazon and other tech titans got too big, too fast and have gained too much power. Amazon, for instance, has aggressively grown in e-commerce, buying up the Whole Foods grocery chain and shopping around for a new second headquarters. Meanwhile, competitors like Toys R Us and RadioShack have gone belly up.

However, despite Trump’s accusations and Amazon’s surging growth, it may be hard to go after the company on antitrust grounds. Amazon takes up 43.5 percent of US e-commerce sales, according to eMarketer. That’s well ahead of the competition, but not even a majority. Also, e-commerce overall is still roughly only 10 percent of all retail sales.

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