Barton: Loss of global confidence biggest risk right now
The chair of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s advisory council on economic growth is not concerned about Canada’s business relationship with China in the wake of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s recent arrest in Vancouver.
“I think the network of relationships that we have amongst the countries is much deeper, so I have no worries about going over there,” Dominic Barton, global managing partner emeritus at McKinsey and Company, told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Monday when asked if he’d feel comfortable going to China right now.
“I think there remains lots of business to be done together. That’s what I think we should keep focused on: Just having the broader relationships and not have everything pivoted on this, which we don’t have full information on,” he added.
Barton, who was named chair of Teck Resources’ (TECKb.TO) board of directors in July, says commodities will remain crucial to Canada’s trade relationship with China.
“I think that there’s a lot of deeper opportunity in the resources sector. That rising, fast-growing middle class in China needs that. There’s a lot of need on the Chinese side for that. They cannot not have that, if you will,” Barton said, stressing the need for Canada to diversify its trade relationships in southeast Asia.
“So, I believe that that is going to continue, we just have to keep calm heads when this is going on.”
However, Barton added the ongoing trade dispute between China and the U.S. could disrupt global growth if it begins to have an impact on consumer confidence.
“I think the thing that I would be focusing on is the confidence of the U.S. consumer and the Chinese consumer, because those two middle classes are what’s driving the system,” he said.
“My biggest worry on this trade issue is not the, per se, economic impact of trade on both, it’s the impact on confidence.”