Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris didn’t mince words in his evaluation of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China and the security concerns about Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
Beijing has long taken advantage of other countries and U.S. President Donald Trump is right to seek changes out of Asia’s largest economy, he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Tuesday.
“President Trump is right about that: This has been a long time where we closed eyes on China raping us. So, by the time you come and tell them, ‘You need to change,’ I mean, they just used to be so comfortable and do whatever they want,” he said. “But I think the leadership is smart, so they will change what they can change. If you tell them, ‘You need to change your whole system,’ they won’t be doing that.”
“So we need to see what we can get without disrupting their system,” Sawiris added, noting that he sees potential for change in “lots of things,” including by importing more from trade partners.
Given that, he expressed optimism about the future for trade negotiations between the U.S. and China: “I think they’ll come to a conclusion — because China has more ambition than to start now another aggravation.”
Still, overall, he said, “the political situation in the whole world has never been worse.”
“People expect wars … whether it’s a trade war or its a real war,” Sawiris said, noting a list of geopolitical hot spots including “the Middle East in disarray” and China pressuring Taiwan. “It’s just not like a very stable world today.”