Siemens CEO: Trade debate will likely affect investment plans

  • Joe Kaeser tells CNBC that trade tariff fears are affecting investment strategy.
  • The chief executive said he’s optimistic that “reasonable people and economists” will win the trade war debate.
  • Siemens shares fall after a miss on revenue.

    The chief executive of one of Europe’s biggest industrial firms has said the trade debate will likely affect corporate strategy.

    The business world has been unsettled by the probability that exports and imports could be made more expensive by additional costs imposed by countries looking to support their domestic economies.

    Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said sentiment in his boardroom was being affected by talk coming out of Washington, Beijing and Brussels.

    “Capital goods means investment and investment always means confidence,” Kaeser said during an appearance on “Squawk Box Europe.”

    “I would not rule out that the debate about what is fair and unfair is going to affect sentiment in the mid-term as such that people will hold back investments until the dust settles,” he added.

    The CEO said that while he saw no evidence of a slowdown in orders, Siemens’ “short-cycle businesses” currently looked near their peak.

      Kaeser said he remained optimistic and that “reasonable people and economists” would prevail in the trade and tariff debate.

      Industrial profit at Siemens rose 2 percent in the third quarter, coming in just ahead of expectations. This despite a miss in revenues. Shares in Thursday morning trade slipped almost 5 percent on the German DAX.

      The German conglomerate has also laid out a new strategy, titled “Vision 2020 plus,” which aims to cut a number of divisions and boost profitability, while focusing on digital businesses and the internet of things.

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