LONDON (Reuters) – The bosses of global investor Fidelity International and accountancy giant EY have voiced concerns about a fracturing of relations between the U.S. and China, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday.
Anne Richards, CEO of the $610 billion money manager Fidelity International, put her level of worry about a potential decoupling of the two economies at 6 out of 10 when asked during a panel discussion.
EY global chair and CEO Carmine Di Sibio put his own level of concern at 9 out of 10.
China on Tuesday said it welcomes a forthcoming visit on Feb. 5 by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at a time of simmering differences on Taiwan, human rights, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and economic issues.
This follows a November meeting between heads of state Joe Biden and Xi Jinping during the G20 summit on the Indonesian island of Bali, when the two leaders pledged more frequent communications.
Richards said she was concerned about the rhetoric on both sides, but said it was important for officials to listen to what was actually being said by their counterparts.
“The realisation that a complete decoupling would be catastrophic for the global economy means that there is a genuine desire on both the US and China side to find the areas where co-operation can happen,” Richards said.
EY’s Di Sibio told the event U.S. administration officials were “extremely aggressive” about the extent of business with China particularly in technology, adding this was the case across much of the West.
“We need investments from China, we need to invest in China… But the politics are really in the way and I am worried that they’re not getting better,” Di Sibio said.
“Both sides of the aisle have this as a major part of the agenda… It’s the one thing that they can agree on.”
Lubna Olayan, boss of Saudi-based Olayan Financing Company, put her own level of concern at 7 out of 10, while Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Belgian materials firm Umicore, said his level of worry was 3 out of 10.
(Reporting by Iain Withers and Lawrence White, editing by Sinead Cruise)