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How businesses are preparing for the U.S. election outcome

September 16, 2020, 9:46 AM UTC

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Good morning.

How are businesses planning for the U.S. election outcome? PwC put out a survey yesterday of 578 CFOs and other C-Suite executives that provides some insight. If Biden wins, 57% say they are more likely to increase investments in tax planning, compared to 43% who say the same in a Trump reelection. But under a second Trump term, 45% would increase investment in supply chains—reflecting concerns about China trade tensions—compared to 37% for a Biden administration.

Interestingly, regardless of the election outcome, 70% of respondents think business tax rates will rise to pay for COVID-19 relief, and 63% believe trade restrictions between the U.S. and China will increase.

The business leaders were in strong agreement (95%) that more fiscal policy action is needed to help the U.S. economy. And a majority (54%) said they “strongly agree” that a federal COVID-19 strategy is critical to improve consumer confidence, which is trending downward.

Separately, the CEO of TripAction says business travel has picked up a little recently, but is still down about 80% since February—compared to the 90% drop in March. And the CEO of Snowflake, this week’s hot tech IPO, tells Fortune how he went from sailing to cloud computing.

Other news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

Boeing report

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Democratic majority has blasted Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration over the 737 MAX debacle. The report says the two fatal crashes of the craft, which killed 346 people, "were not the result of a singular failure, technical mistake, or mismanaged event. They were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA—the pernicious result of regulatory capture on the part of the FAA." Reuters

Facebook antitrust

The Federal Trade Commission may lob an antitrust suit in Facebook's direction this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Details remain scarce, but FTC staffers have been asking questions about Facebook's past acquisitions and its policies regarding app development. WSJ

Greener Europe

The European Commission has proposed stepping up its 2030 target for emissions reductions from 40% to 55%—not quite the 60% that the European Parliament recently called for, but a sizeable increase nonetheless. So expect stricter pollution caps, with plans to completely phase out combustion engines. Bloomberg

Trade rules

The World Trade Organization says the U.S. broke international trade rules by imposing additional tariffs on Chinese goods in 2018, because it didn't show the measures were justified. What will the WTO do about it? Good question, since the Trump administration's refusal to consider any nominees for the organization's appellate panel has effectively hamstrung it. CNBC

AROUND THE WATER COOLER

TikTok saga

More details have emerged regarding ByteDance's attempt to save TikTok in the U.S. Its deal with Oracle apparently involves placing TikTok's global business in a new American company that has Oracle and perhaps other U.S. companies as minority shareholders. China's ByteDance would be the majority shareholder, and would retain control of the recommendation algorithm that Beijing apparently doesn't want to see sold off. Financial Times

Apple event

Apple had one of its big events yesterday. No new iPhone just yet (next month maybe?) but the company did unveil two new Apple Watches, an exercise service called fitness+, a bundled set of subscription services called Apple One, and a couple new iPads. Fortune

Defending McDonald's

John Rogers, a director on the McDonald's board, is keen to defend the firm against the accusations of Black former franchisees who have sued the company over allegedly unfair treatment. He writes for Fortune: "At a time when other companies are only just initiating racial equality programs, McDonald’s has long understood and embraced the importance of diversity…McDonald’s leadership is showing no signs of taking its foot off the gas to embed economic justice even more deeply within the business." Fortune

Vaccine questions

Harvard Business School senior fellow Bill George writes for Fortune that six questions must be answered if a successful coronavirus vaccine is to be safely deployed. The questions cover the issues of safety, effectiveness, public confidence, availability, political intervention—and figuring out which vaccine to get if multiple vaccines are approved. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.