LIMA, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Global business leaders meeting in Lima think proposals by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to build a wall along the Mexican border and hike tariffs on Chinese imports are unlikely to happen, said the head of China’s state-run Sinochem on Friday.
“We worried a bit on the incoming U.S. President Donald Trump, and his policies, but I think we basically agree we don’t think he will really build a wall between Mexico and the U.S, and we don’t think he will really increase import duties on Chinese products,” Ning Gaoning told journalists on the sidelines of a conference of Pacific rim economies.
“We believe countries are rational, and we doubt Mexico will pay for that wall...I don’t think our world will go that crazy.”
Trump, a Republican, pulled off a surprise victory in the U.S. presidential election after appealing to voters in states that had long supported Democrats, promising to curb immigration and bring back jobs by renegotiating international trade deals.
His victory vote has exacerbated worries that about the future of free trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, which Trump has criticized. Those are the key themes under discussion in this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru.
But Ning said he remained optimistic that there would not be a “major retreat” on free trade and suggested Trump’s words were little more than rhetoric.
“Due to lack of knowledge and understanding, some people fall for the theories of protectionism,” he said.
“Trump said in Michigan that he would create automobile factories and bring the industries back. I don’t think what he said can be delivered.”
Sinochem Group was a monopoly oil and chemicals trader until the early 1990s and has since expanded into oil and gas production, refining, agriculture and real estate. (Reporting by Rosalba O‘Brien; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)