U.S. business leaders express concerns to Trump about travel ban

Fri Feb 3, 2017 4:46pm EST
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By Emily Stephenson and David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Chief executives of major U.S. companies huddled with President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday and some of them expressed concern about a travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries traveling to the United States.

Business leaders said afterward that the group, which included Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase & Co and Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo Inc, discussed bank rules, tax reform, and objections to Trump's week-old ban.

Some companies are worried that the travel restrictions will impact their employees or create uncertainty that could rattle markets. Tech companies also have broader concerns about Trump's immigration policies because of the number of foreign workers they employ in the United States.

The U.S. business community has been divided in their approach on taxes and immigration, and some leaders are wary of working with a president who uses his platform to attack companies that vex him, such as threatening penalties for manufacturing outside the United States.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly delivered an update to the corporate leaders on the travel restrictions, which caused chaos at major U.S. airports and are now facing court challenges.

"There was obviously concern by different people and explanations and that issue had to be covered and was covered," Blackstone Group Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman, who leads the advisory group, said on Fox Business.

Participants including Elon Musk of Tesla Inc had said before the meeting that they would raise concerns with Trump about the travel crackdown.

The meeting, which also included Mary Barra of General Motors Co and Jim McNerney, formerly of Boeing Co, convened a business advisory panel that Trump announced in December.   Continued...

Flanked by Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman (L) and General Motors CEO Mary Barra (R), U.S. President Donald Trump holds a strategy and policy forum with chief executives of major U.S. companies at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 3, 2017.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque