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Tech and Trump: Can They Find Common Ground in New York?

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Tomorrow, all eyes will be on New York City’s Trump Tower as President-Elect Donald Trump sits down with Silicon Valley’s top tech leaders. While the meeting’s agenda has yet to be disclosed, it is safe to assume themes like job creation, immigration, regulation, and encryption will all be likely discussion topics.

It’s been well documented that the vast majority of Silicon Valley leaders opposed Trump during the presidential election, with some helping and fund-raising for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during her campaign. The Obama administration has acted largely favorable towards large tech corporations over the years, from its “net-neutrality” policy—which requires internet providers to treat all web traffic equally—to its hands-off tactics to the tech industry’s growing concentration of power.

Joining Trump on his side of the table will be Reince Preibus, his chief of staff, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and key transition team member Peter Thiel, a tech investor who was one of the few Silicon Valley names to support Mr. Trump.

Expected tech executives include:

  • Apple (AAPL - Free Report) Chief Executive Tim Cook
  • Facebook Chief Operating Officer and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg
  • Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) CEO Satya Nadella
  • Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) CEO and The Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos
  • Tesla Motors (TSLA - Free Report) CEO Elon Musk
  • Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) CEO and Chairman Larry Page and Eric Schmidt
  • Intel (INTC - Free Report) CEO Brian Krzanich
  • IBM (IBM - Free Report) CEO Ginni Rometty
  • Oracle (ORCL - Free Report) co-CEO Safra Catz
  • Cisco (CSCO - Free Report) CEO Chuck Robbins

Surprisingly, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will not be present at the meeting, given how much Mr. Trump prefers the social networking platform over others.

Many of these tech companies, including Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, saw their shares slide the day after the election on worries that a Trump presidency would negatively affect their manufacturing and product distribution methods here in the U.S. and especially abroad.

One area of common ground, however, could be tax reform. According to the Wall Street Journal, the president-elect is “expected to promote corporate tax reform, which, depending on the details, could enable U.S. tech companies to bring home hundreds of billions of dollars they currently hold offshore.” 

The meeting is set for 2:00pm on Wednesday afternoon, and the world will be watching, waiting to learn all the minute details, hoping for, at least, some agreement on key issues, and realizing that the tech industry and Mr. Trump may need more from each other than either is willing to give.

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