Buffett, Munger urge U.S. to mend ties with China for common benefits

2023-05-08 08:54:14Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Legendary U.S. investors Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger on Saturday urged the U.S. to get along with China and avoid an escalation of tensions amid the U.S.' reckless push for "decoupling" from China. 

Analysts said the remarks underscore the U.S. business community's reasonable urge for maintaining viable bilateral relations as well the broad business community's confidence in the development of Chinese economy.

"If there's one thing we should do is get along with China, and have lots of free trade with China … it's in our mutual interest," Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, said at the company's annual shareholders meeting held in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday.

He cited U.S. tech giant Apple as a brilliant example of how U.S.-China relations should work, criticizing growing tensions as "stupid, stupid, stupid." 

"Apple has done (this) by engaging in a partnership with China as a big supplier. It's been good for Apple and good for China. That's the kind of business we'll be doing with China," he said.

Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, echoed Munger's remarks. He said at the meeting that the two countries need to understand that they cannot push each other too hard. By working together, the U.S. and China can both become more wonderful countries, Buffett said.

"Buffett's and Munger's views represent the U.S. business community, which wants to keep bilateral ties stable and expand cooperation with China. China is not only the world's second largest economy but also provide vast development opportunities that the U.S. market couldn't offer," said Li Yong, deputy chairman of the Expert Committee of the China Association of International Trade.

In sign of their confidence in the growth opportunities and the value the huge Chinese market offers, both Buffett and Munger have invested in Chinese firms. Berkshire Hathaway invested $232 million in Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD in 2008, and the stake has swelled to around $6 billion, Fortune reported.

While sharing his thoughts on developments in AI during the shareholder meeting, Munger praised automation at BYD. 

"If you went into BYD's factories in China you would see robotics going in at an unbelievable rate," he said.

Yang Delong, former chief economist at Shenzhen-based First Seafront Fund Management Co, who attended the Berkshire Hathaway meeting this year, told the Global Times on Sunday that many investors at the meeting showed confidence in the prospects for the Chinese economy as well as opportunities created by China's development.

Bilateral trade is complementary and has continued to grow despite trade conflicts since 2008, Yang said, noting that the peaceful development of China-U.S. relations benefits both economies and the world as a whole.

"While China always hopes for peaceful China-U.S. relations, U.S. politicians continue to disparage China for political gains," Li said.

At the meeting, Buffett also cautioned the U.S. government against eroding the U.S. dollar's value by spending beyond its means and fueling inflation.

Yang said that the share of the dollar in many central banks' international reserves will likely decrease, as many economies have concerns about the autonomy of their own monetary and fiscal policies by heavily relying on the dollar, following the sweeping U.S. and Western financial sanctions on Russia by taking advantage of the dollar's hegemony.

"The share of the yuan in international reserves will grow along with the currency's internationalization," Yang said, noting that some countries and China have agreed that local currency settlement will benefit them.


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