Trump’s potential return to the White House dominates talks in Davos


President Donald Trump (center) arrives, flanked by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left), to address the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on January 26, 2018 in Davos, Switzerland.

Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

Davos, Switzerland ꟷ Donald Trump was not among the attendees at this year’s edition of the World Economic Forum in Davos, but his potential re-election as US president is a big part of the conversation in the Swiss Alpine resort.

“Every question I got as I walked back and forth [Davos] “The walkthrough today is: ‘Will he come back?’” Tim Adams, president of the Institute of International Finance, told CNBC on Tuesday.

He added, “So I think there is a lot of interest in this question, what that means, and who will be in key positions.”

Trump won the Iowa caucuses earlier this week, setting a new record for caucus victory margins. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came in a distant second, followed by former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

The vote in Iowa was considered the first big test for the Republican Party campaign before the 2024 presidential elections. With Trump leading the Republican group so far, the November elections are likely to be another runoff between the former president and current Democrat Joe Biden.

Standard Chartered: Trump

Some Davos participants are already preparing their work for a potential Republican leader in the White House.

“Given what happened when President Trump was in office, his main concern is trade. So we have to expect the trade issues to be very serious,” Takeshi Niinami, CEO of Japanese beverage maker Suntory, told CNBC on Wednesday.

He added that his company is allocating more resources to its US operations so that they can protect themselves from any trade disputes.

He added, “We have to produce locally, especially in the United States… We have scenarios to be able to respond to this change in leadership.” The United States is one of Suntory’s main markets, which is looking to expand its sales outside China.

In the past twelve months, uncertainty has dominated the US Congress, with changes in the leadership of the House of Representatives, and disagreements over spending plans and foreign policy priorities, to name a few.

For Bill Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, one of the key questions is how a new US leader might interact with China, after years of tensions between Washington and Beijing.

“The slight reengagement we are seeing through the Biden administration is an indicator to me that the United States is looking to stabilize [relations with China]The CEO of the major bank said, referring to recent trips made by American officials to China.

What is the World Economic Forum?

“If Trump becomes president, we know he’s a transactional president, and there’s probably going to be a deal in there somewhere that will keep the economy in balance, without fundamentally disrupting that relationship. But of course, we’re watching all the time, and we’re doing that.” . “We are very aware that there may be unintended consequences or accidents,” Winters said.

When asked what Trump’s return could mean for US fiscal policy, IIF’s Adams replied: “We have a debt problem globally. We have the highest levels of non-war debt in modern history, at the corporate, household and property levels.” Sovereign, semi-sovereign.”

“We have a huge financial problem everywhere, including the United States, which we run [a] The deficit reaches 7% of GDP. We need to be sober and we need to focus on how to put our financial house in order.”

Even in a Davos hotel, the conversation was still centered around Trump. Two attendees were heard discussing the latest developments in the American political scene, with one of them expressing his dissatisfaction with the possible repetition of the recent elections, which witnessed the current Trump’s loss to Biden.

“Nothing gets done in American politics anymore,” said one attendee.

— CNBC’s Sam Meredith contributed to this report.

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