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Trump’s Trade Policies Present a Business Risk, According to Amazon

While big business, for the most part, has welcomed President Trump’s promised tax cuts and lax regulations, Amazon withholds its enthusiasm. The recent stock market rally suggests traders believe U.S. companies will prosper due to Trump’s trade policies, but Amazon’s regulatory filing on Friday implies the opposite.

In its annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Amazon said that its business faces a new set of risks, that of “trade and protectionist measures.” The filing does not explicitly state that these risky measures are a part of President Trump’s proposed policies, although they clearly reference the possible changes that could come to global commerce under the new administration.

The risk of “trade and protectionist measures” identified in the report is the only significant change compared to last year’s filing in the section devoted to potentially “unfavorable changes” in government regulation. The addition, although subtle, clearly represents Amazon’s concern about Trump’s protectionist approach to trade. Already, the “America First” policy has led to the nation’s departure from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, is not the only business leader worried about Trump’s economic and trade policies. Seth Klarman, a successful hedge fund manager, recently wrote a private letter to warn his investors of risks. The letter, later circulated widely, cautions that “Exuberant investors have focused on the potential benefits of stimulative tax cuts, while mostly ignoring the risks from America-first protectionism and the erection of new trade barriers.” Klarman also wrote that Trump’s pro-growth policies could result in inflation, larger deficits, and higher interest rates.

The first three weeks of Trump’s administration has been a uniquely tumultuous period for Amazon. In that time, Amazon announced mixed financial results, faced employee protests over its ad ties with, and supported the Washington Attorney General oppose the travel ban.

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