Honeywell CEO urges Congress to sharply lower corporate tax rate

NEW YORK Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:33pm EST

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NEW YORK Nov 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. corporate tax rate should be lowered to encourage global competitiveness, the chief executive of conglomerate Honeywell said in an interview on Thursday, days after a key U.S. senator proposed sweeping changes to the tax code.

"If we want to be successful as a country, we need to be participating" in countries with much of the globe's economic growth, David Cote said in an interview. "If you put U.S. companies at a disadvantage when they're competing in those countries, we're making a huge mistake."

Cote, Honeywell's CEO since 2002, said the current U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent is too high and should be lowered to help his and other companies compete with rivals around the world.

Democratic Sen. Max Baucus on Tuesday issued a "discussion draft" - effectively a memo, not proposed legislation - that he hopes would motivate U.S. multinationals to bring home billions of dollars in profits already stored offshore at a low 20 percent tax rate.

The plan would also make taxation on some, but not all, foreign profits compulsory.

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