Financial Times

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Coke chief criticises US tax rules
Financial Times

Coca-Cola now sees the US becoming a less friendly business environment than China, its chief executive has revealed, citing political gridlock and an antiquated tax structure as reasons its home market has become less competitive.

Muhtar Kent, Coke’s chief executive, said “in many respects” it was easier doing business in China, comparing the country with a well-managed company. “You have a one-stop shop in terms of the Chinese foreign investment agency and local governments are fighting for investment with each other,” he told the Financial Times.

Mr Kent also pointed to Brazil as an example of an emerging economy that is making itself attractive to investment in ways that the US once did. “They’re learning very fast, these countries,” he said. “In the west, we’re forgetting what really worked 20 years ago. In China and other markets around the world, you see the kind of attention to detail about how business works and how business creates employment.”

Mr Kent argued that US states did not compete enough with each other to attract businesses while Chinese provinces were clamouring to draw investment from international companies. Meanwhile, he said, China’s budget discipline and rapid economic growth made it an appealing place to set up operations.