Buffett: Free trade beneficial to Americans, but displaced workers needs government help

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-07 07:30:48|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao


Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway speaks to media when viewing an exhibtion of goods he invested during the annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, the United States, May 6, 2017. The Annual Meeting of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway attracted more than 40,000 shareholders from around the world as well as a wide variety of media outlets to Omaha every year. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

OMAHA, the United States, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's chairman and chief executive, said here Saturday that free trade is beneficial to Americans, but the government should also make policies to take care of displaced workers who are impacted by globalization.

"We need an educator in chief, logically the president...has to be able to explain to the American public the overall benefits of free trade. And then beyond that we have to have policies to take care of the people that become the roadkill in the process," Buffett said at Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting, often known as Woodstock for Capitalists, held at the CenturyLink Center in downtown Omaha of Nebraska.

"Investors can diversify their investments so that overall trade benefits them and they don't get killed by a specific industry condition, but workers can't do that," he argued.

"We should try to hit both objectives, to make sure there is not roadkill and 320 million people get the benefits of free trade," Buffett said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made trade as a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, vowing to renegotiate trade agreements with other countries and crack down on unfair trade practices.

While it remains unclear how Trump's trade policy will evolve in the next few years, investors are concerned about potential increases of trade frictions between the U.S. and other trading partners.

Major international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO), have urged all economies around the world to advance open trade in an inclusive way.

Increased trade integration has helped to drive economic growth, enhance productivity, lower prices and improve living standards, they argued in a recent report, adding economies should also improve social safety nets and labor market policies to help displaced workers.

Around 40,000 investors around the world over the weekend came to Omaha to attend Berkshire's annual meeting.

The main focus of the meeting is the question-and-answer session, during which the 86-year-old billionaire and his 93-year-old partner, Charlie Munger, take questions from financial journalists, analysts and shareholders, ranging from Berkshire's business, the stock market, the economic outlook to the investment philosophy.

KEY WORDS: Buffett