PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified major BHP has called for open communication as global trade tensions intensify.
The call comes as the US and Chinese governments ready for a stand-off, with both countries escalating tariffs on imports.
Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday, CEO Andrew Mackenzie said that protectionism had a negative flow-on effect for businesses, undercutting confidence, disrupting investment and destroying productivity.
“Tensions over trade have risen before and will rise again. In fractious times, it is essential to keep the lines of communication open. The economic benefits of cooperation are too critical to ignore,” Mackenzie said.
He was also critical of the recent tariff battle that has emerged in the global trading space.
“Punitive tariffs are not the answer. We must all become guardians of openness, and broker alliances to prevent the damage trade rifts inflict.”
He further noted that the “current assault” on the global trading system was likely to push countries outside of the dispute to take action.
“This is not a time for complacency. When the fabric of global trade frays, we must pull together and administer needle and thread,” Andrew Mackenzie said.
BHP chairperson Ken MacKenzie said that the company was closely monitoring the market volatility triggered by the global trade questions, saying the company remained “cautious” about its impact on business.
“Anything that threatens the stability of the global trade system creates uncertainty for everyone, for governments, for communities and for business. Trade restrictions pose a real threat to economic growth by diverting trade flows, affecting prices and discouraging investment.
“BHP strongly advocates for free and fair trade. It is a critical driver of global wealth creation, jobs, and improved living standards."