His talk may be different to action
EXECUTIVES at the World Economic Forum keep repeating, like a soothing mantra, that Donald Trump is at heart a pragmatist who will avoid trade wars and regulations that make it harder to do business.
“What somebody’s saying is not necessarily what they are going to do,” said David Cote, chief executive officer of Honeywell International.
He should hope so: Honeywell is a manufacturing giant with far more employees outside the US than in. It has made major bets on projects like supplying parts for China’s first commercial jet.
With stock markets nearing record highs and business friendly figures like billionaire investor Wilbur Ross named to the cabinet, a conviction has set in that a man who came to power as an anti-establishment populist might in fact usher in a golden age for business.
“In the end if he knows the facts, he will respond according to the facts,” said Hideaki Omiya, chairman of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The stakes are high for companies that have prospered during the era of globalisation, locating factories where labour’s cheap and finding suppliers that can offer components at the most competitive prices. Trump has criticised the arrangements that make those integrated operations possible, calling the North American Free Trade Agreement – which has allowed car makers like Ford Motor Corporation to build supply chains spanning the length of the continent – a “disaster.”
During his campaign, Trump blasted the multilateral economic and political order, saying China, the most important US trading partner, had been allowed “to rape our country.” – Bloomberg