Amazon's stock entered correction territory on Wednesday after a report indicated that President Donald Trump is considering ways to change the tax treatment of the e-commerce giant, which he has accused of not paying its fair share.
Trump is looking for ways to target the technology behemoth over antitrust or competition laws, according to an Axios report that cited people who have spoken with the president. During his campaign, Trump said Bezos would have “such problems” if he were elected into the country’s highest office.
The White House said on Wednesday that while there are no “specific policies on the table at this time,” the administration is always “looking to create a level playing field for all businesses.”
The report sent the stock of Amazon down 4.4% on Wednesday, sending it into a correction, which is defined as a drop of 10% or more from a recent high. Other technology stocks that have entered a correction include Netflix and Google. Facebook, facing an outcry over its data leak, is trading in a bear market, defined as a drop of 20% or more from a recent high.
People who have spoken to Trump allege that “he’s obsessed with Amazon,” according to the Axios report. That's despite public outcry over the recent scandal surrounding Facebook’s privacy practices.
The president has a long history of railing against the way the e-commerce behemoth is taxed. Trump has accused Bezos of using The Washington Post as a tax shelter for Amazon. He has said that if the tech company ever had to pay fair taxes, “its stock would crash.” And he has alleged that Amazon is doing damage to the tax-paying public. He has also claimed that Bezos uses The Post to curry political favor with politicians so he can continue to avoid paying taxes.
During an interview with Fox News last May, Trump suggested Amazon had “a huge antitrust problem.”
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said during an interview with FOX Business last August that Amazon had violated no antitrust laws.
The Supreme Court said earlier this year it would consider whether states can require an online retailer to collect sales taxes even if the company has no physical presence in the state. If the current law is changed, states could tax online sales from beyond their borders, which would eliminate benefits for consumers.