Warren Buffett is not too worried about a trade war

Warren Buffett has plenty on the line if the United States and China can't settle their trade differences. But the Or...

Posted: May 6, 2018 1:38 PM
Updated: May 6, 2018 1:38 PM

Warren Buffett has plenty on the line if the United States and China can't settle their trade differences. But the Oracle of Omaha isn't that concerned about the relationship.

"We've done remarkably well with trade in China," Buffett said of the US at Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders meeting Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska. "We will have disagreements with each other. We'll have disagreements with other countries on trade. But it's just too big, and too obvious that the benefits are huge and the world's dependent on, in a major way for its progress."

Threats of a trade war between the world's biggest economies have loomed for months, and both countries have threatened to slap steep tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of exports.

The tensions have rattled global markets - so far this year, for example, the S&P 500 index has swung wildly.

Related: China says 'big differences' remain after US trade talks

Buffett has several interests in China. His conglomerate Berkshire has a massive stake in the Chinese car company BYD, as well as big holdings of Apple, GM and Coca-Cola. All of them have a major presence in the Asian nation.

Berkshire's stock is down about 2% since January.

"It is a win-win situation when the world trades," Buffett said at the meeting, adding that he doesn't think the US and China will "do something extremely foolish."

"We will not sacrifice world prosperity based on differences that arise in trade," he said.

Top trade officials from the United States and China met in Beijing this week, an effort to ease the tough rhetoric and avoid a trade standoff.

The two sides made some progress in the in the two days of talks, according to China's official news agency, Xinhua. But the agency also reported that they still have "relatively big differences on some issues."

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, tweeted Friday that he would be meeting with the delegation to "determine the results."

"But it is hard for China in that they have become very spoiled with US trade wins!" he added.

Trade war fears escalated earlier this year after Trump announced hefty new tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum, which prompted retaliatory measures from China.

On Saturday, Buffett's longtime business partner Charlie Munger defended that move. He added that global trading rules "were almost unbelievably adverse" to US producers.

"Even Donald Trump can be right on some of this stuff," Munger said.

Buffett chimed in, adding that global trade is a benefit to Americans in the grand scheme.

He also said the US government has a duty to communicate that to the public - especially to workers whose jobs are at risk because of global trade.

"The negatives are very apparent and very painful," Buffett said.

He also said the government should "take care of people that become the roadkill for something that is collectively good for us as a country."

-CNNMoney's Paul La Monica and Daniel Shane contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 516486

Reported Deaths: 10299
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison35042558
DeSoto33463432
Hinds32797643
Jackson24926392
Rankin22593405
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Madison14978283
Jones14191248
Forrest13852260
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Lamar10713140
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Prentiss510185
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Scott479499
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Adams4784125
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Winston318892
Clay313978
Clarke301995
Calhoun288950
Holmes273389
Smith270852
Yalobusha245847
Tallahatchie232653
Greene225449
Walthall222166
Lawrence220842
Perry214656
Amite210357
Webster206748
Noxubee188843
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Carroll175841
Jefferson Davis174643
Tunica163939
Benton153439
Kemper145541
Choctaw137827
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132339
Franklin126630
Quitman107928
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97334
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848779

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164582005
Mobile744601384
Madison53563738
Shelby38454371
Baldwin38215589
Tuscaloosa36172644
Montgomery34573782
Lee25690264
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Morgan22548411
Etowah20075520
Marshall18865318
Houston17795426
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Cullman16170306
Elmore15952295
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Talladega14267302
DeKalb13095271
Walker12180380
Blount10791193
Autauga10562157
Jackson10221196
Coffee9440192
Colbert9376210
Dale9049192
Tallapoosa7287202
Russell711465
Chilton7098170
Covington6973197
Escambia6969144
Franklin6369108
Chambers5810142
Marion5446132
Dallas5306210
Pike5135109
Clarke486086
Lawrence4852130
Winston4804110
Geneva4656136
Bibb436495
Barbour370880
Butler3445101
Marengo342993
Monroe338566
Randolph338067
Pickens335090
Fayette332285
Henry321266
Cherokee320564
Hale319589
Crenshaw261878
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay253169
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
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Perry141940
Sumter139841
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Choctaw94628
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