102.png

US President Donald Trump signed into law a $1.5-trillion tax reform package on Friday, which is the largest overhaul of the nation's tax code since 1986. Trump has promoted the tax plan as a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" that will bring "revolutionary change." However, the spillover effect and the chain reaction caused by the competitive tax reform should not be overlooked.

上周五,美国总统唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)签署了一项价值1.5万亿美元的税收改革方案,这是自1986年以来对美国税法进行的最大一次改革。特朗普将税收计划称为“千载难逢的机会”,将带来“革命性的变化”。 但是,不能忽视竞争性税制改革带来的溢出效应和连锁反应。

The impacts that the US tax overhaul will bring to the US economy, Sino-US economic relations and the global economy deserve our attention. From the perspective of the policy position, the tax reform is the core measure for the Trump administration to reshape US competitiveness and leadership under the "America First" strategy. For a long time, the high tax burden and the complex tax system in the US have become important constraints affecting the competitiveness of US companies and the domestic business environment. Through tax reform, as well as other policies like trade protection and immigration restrictions, the Trump administration is looking to lower business costs and enhance the nation's comparative advantage, so as to guide global industry and capital to flow back to the US.

美国税制改革对美国经济、中美经济关系和全球经济的影响值得我们关注。从政策立场来看,税收改革是特朗普政府在“美国第一”战略下重塑美国竞争力和领导力的核心措施。长期以来,美国的高税收负担和复杂的税收制度已经成为影响美国企业和国内商业环境竞争力的重要制约因素。通过税收改革,以及贸易保护和移民限制等其他政策,特朗普政府希望降低企业成本,提高国家的优势,以引导全球工业和资本回流美国。

It is important to note that the current US tax system is no longer suitable for the development of the global taxation system. The US is a major capital-exporting country, but due to its relatively high corporate tax rate and the worldwide taxation principle, many US companies have set up subsidiaries overseas so as to keep foreign earnings abroad to avoid paying tax in the US. Such export of assets and profits has led to the outflow of employment opportunities, thus inhibiting US economic development.

值得注意的是,当前的美国税收体系已不再适合全球税制的发展。美国是一个主要的资本输出国,但由于其较高的企业税税率和全球税收原则,许多美国公司都在海外设立子公司,以便将海外收益保持在海外,以避免在美国纳税。这种资产和利润的出口导致了就业机会的流失,从而抑制了美国的经济发展。

According to an estimate by Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation, US companies had up to $2.6 trillion in untaxed earnings overseas as of the end of 2016, equivalent to about 14 percent of US GDP during the same year. The new tax plan shifts to a territorial system, exempting foreign profits from tax, which will prevent US companies from paying too much attention to classifying profits as being earned overseas. Moreover, cutting the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent may also give US companies a big incentive to repatriate their profits rather than stashing money overseas.

根据国会税务联合委员会的估计,截至2016年底,美国公司在海外的免税收益高达2.6万亿美元,相当于同年美国国内生产总值的14%左右。新的税收计划转向地域制度,豁免外国利润税,这将阻止美国公司过分注意将利润分类为海外收益。而且,将企业利率从35%降至21%,也可能给美国企业带来巨大的利润回报,而不是把钱存在海外。

It is expected that the tax overhaul may narrow the gap in comparative advantage between China and the US in terms of cost. According to the World Investment Report 2017 issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, China's stock of foreign direct investment reached $1.3 trillion, which, based on my calculations, included around $130 billion in stock of US investment. Most of the US investment has already been transformed into fixed-asset investment. The tax reform may encourage some US companies to remit their cash earnings to the US, while at the same time, the narrowed gap in manufacturing costs may also push some manufacturers to return to the US.

预计税收改革可能会缩小中美在成本上的比较优势差距。根据联合国贸易和发展会议发布的“2017年世界投资报告”,中国的外国直接投资额达到了1.3万亿美元,根据我的计算,中国的投资额约为1300亿美元。美国大部分投资已经转化为固定资产投资。税制改革可能会鼓励一些美国公司把现金收入汇给美国,同时,制造成本的缩小差距也可能会促使一些制造商重返美国。

However, it should be noted that as China's economic development and transformation have enhanced its household consumption and innovation capabilities, some market-oriented or high-tech US companies are still interested in expanding direct investment in China, which will see little impact from the tax reform. With the Chinese economy shifting to an innovation-driven growth model amid rising labor costs, its labor-intensive manufacturing industry will gradually move overseas, while its attractiveness to foreign investment in market-oriented or innovation-oriented areas will improve. As such, the tax reform in the US will not change the general trend of China's structural change in absorbing foreign investment, with US investment in China still maintaining growth in consumption and services, as well as research and development.

但值得注意的是,随着中国经济的发展和转型,家庭消费和创新能力的提高,一些市场化或高科技的美国企业仍然有兴趣扩大对中国的直接投资,改革。随着中国经济转向以劳动力成本上涨为主导的创新驱动型增长模式,其劳动密集型制造业将逐步向海外转移,吸引外资对市场导向或创新型领域的吸引力将提高。因此,美国的税制改革不会改变中国吸收外资结构变化的大趋势,美国在华投资仍然保持消费和服务业以及研发的增长。

From an international perspective, reasonable tax competition has a positive effect by helping reduce the corporate tax burden, promoting host countries to absorb foreign capital and technology, enhancing technical innovation and expanding the tax base. However, excessive competition in taxation may trigger a global chain reaction, bringing competitive pressure to bear on other countries. At present, the UK, France and Australia reportedly have similar plans to cut corporate rates. In this sense, the new tax plan in the US will probably lead a new wave of global tax cuts, intensifying global taxation competition.

从国际视野来看,合理的税收竞争有助于减轻企业税负,促进东道国吸收外资和技术,加强技术创新,扩大税基。但过度的税收竞争可能引发全球连锁反应,给其他国家带来竞争压力。目前英国,法国和澳大利亚也有类似的降息计划。从这个意义上讲,美国新的税收计划可能会引发新的全球减税浪潮,加剧全球税收竞争。

On the other side, there are also concerns that the US tax reform may violate the "tax fairness" principle. In order to prevent US multinational companies from using transactions to pay large sums of money to overseas related parties to reduce their US tax base, the overhaul introduces new taxes to fix the problem. But for Chinese companies that have trade, service and intellectual property transactions with their related parties in the US, the new tax may result in the additional tax burden on money they obtain from their related parties in US, which is obviously contrary to the international tax fairness principle.

另一方面,也有人担心美国的税制改革可能违反“税收公平”原则。为了防止美国跨国公司通过交易向海外关联方支付大笔资金,以减少美国的税基,改革引入了新的税收来解决这个问题。但是对于那些与美国的相关方进行贸易、服务和知识产权交易的中国公司来说,新税可能会给他们在美国的关联方带来额外的税收负担,这显然与国际税收相抵触公平原则。

本文为爱思英语原创内容,转载文章请注明来源。