Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks at a Dinner With European Business Leaders in Davos, Switzerland

January 25, 2018

The President. Well, I just want to thank everybody. The receptivity that we've had and the United States has had being here has been incredible. Sitting around this table are some of the greatest business leaders in the world, some of the greatest companies in the world. Probably, I can think of no other place or time where you'll have executives of this stature.

And I thought what I'd do is, first of all, I want to thank the professor for having done a fantastic job. Klaus, thank you very much. You have really done outstandingly. And putting this together at this level over many years has been a great tribute to you and your entire group and your entire family. So thank you very much. It's an honor to be here representing the United States.

World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus M. Schwab. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. I just want to say that there's been a lot of warmth, a lot of respect for our country. And a lot of money—billions and billions of dollars—is coming into the U.S. And people are very happy with what we've done, not only on the tax bill, but also cutting of regulations, and I think also being a cheerleader for our country. You know, if you're not a cheerleader for your company or for your country—[laughter]—no matter what happens, it's not going to work. And that's what I've been, and that's what my whole group has been.

So perhaps I'll start on my left, and you can go around. And here's one of the very big, powerful businesspeople of the world. And just say a few words about your company and whatever you'd like to do. Go ahead.

Siemens AG President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser. Yes, thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for inviting me today.

The President. Thank you.

Mr. Kaeser. Obviously, I work for Siemens. We've got 56,000 people working in the United States, $34 billion in revenues. And obviously, a net exporter. So congratulations on your tax reform. I mean, you said this is what you're going to do. So you build it, and we'll come.

The President. We said it, right? We said it.

Mr. Kaeser. Yes.

The President. And by the way, when he says he works for Siemens, he's the president of Siemens, but that's okay. [Laughter] It's a good way of saying it. But go ahead.

Mr. Kaeser. Don't you work for your country?

The President. Yes, we work for our country. That's right. [Laughter] I agree, same thing. And Siemens is doing good?

Mr. Kaeser. We're doing really well, actually. A matter of fact, we've been investing quite a lot into the country. And since you have been successful with tax reform, we decided to develop the next-generation gas turbines in the United States.

The President. Oh, that's a big thing. That's very big. That's fantastic.

Mr. Kaeser. It is.

The President. Where will that be developed?

Mr. Kaeser. Charlotte.

The President. Oh, in Charlotte, great. That's fantastic. Well, thank you. On behalf of Charlotte, thank you very much—and our country.

Mr. Kaeser. Our pleasure. Thank you.

The President. Thank you very much. Fantastic, thank you.


Deloitte Global Chief Executive Officer Punit Renjen. Mr. President, thank you for having me. Punit Renjen from Deloitte. On behalf of 265,000 employees——

The President. Wow.

Mr. Renjen. ——across the globe, 70,000 in the U.S., thank you again for having us.

The President. Great company. Thank you very much. Great job.

Mr. Renjen. Thank you.

Nestlé S.A. Chief Executive Officer Ulf Mark Schneider. Mr. President, thank you for the invitation. Mark Schneider, CEO of Nestlé. Nestlé was cofounded—this is something that few people know—by American brothers who moved to Switzerland after the Civil War. Today, we employ 50,000 people in the United States. We operate 77 plants. Almost everything we sell is locally made. We operate 10 R&D centers, and we're excited about what's going on in the U.S. market.

The President. And people think of Nestlé for candy, but I read the other day that's actually only 3 percent of your company. So what is your primary product now?

Mr. Schneider. Coffee, infant nutrition, water, pet food. Those are the—[inaudible].

The President. Yes. Fantastic job you've done. Thank you very much.

Mr. Schneider. Thank you.

The President. Professor.

Mr. Schwab. Yes. World Economic Forum engaged also in the United States. But you probably do not know one-third of our staff is working in—we have only 800 people. [Laughter] But tiny compared to you. But one-third of the staff is working in New York and in our Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco.

The President. That's very good. Has this been a very successful one, right here, now?

Mr. Schwab. Yes.

The President. Has it all gone very well? Because it seems to really be going smoothly. A lot of really good relationships.

Mr. Schwab. Yes. And even more what I mentioned before, Mr. President, the World Economic Forum is a very business-driven approach to global cooperation.

The President. Right.

Mr. Schwab. I think many of the issues can be much faster and much more efficient to resolve if business is involved. And so that's what we are doing: creating coalitions between governments, business, and, to a certain extent, also the young generations.

The President. Right.

Mr. Schwab. To make sure that we really have a pragmatic approach in global governance.

The President. That's good. Well, we're honored to be here and be with you. Thank you, Professor.

Mr. Schwab. Thank you.

Nokia President and Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Suri. Good evening, Mr. President. I'm Rajeev Suri from Nokia. We're the leading networks—telecom networks company in the world, so number two. We have 15,000 people in the U.S., and it's one of our strongest R&D setups in the world. We're spread throughout the U.S. We have—after the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.

The President. Right.

Mr. Suri. We own Nokia Bell Labs, which is in New Jersey. We do a lot of stuff in the West Coast, we're in Chicago, throughout the country, really. So about just under half of our people do research and development, and the rest are doing services and 4G networks and 5G networks.

The President. Right, yes. Great job.

Mr. Suri. So I'm very happy and pleased with your infrastructure focus and focus on 5G.

The President. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Volvo Group President and Chief Executive Officer Martin Lundstedt. So thank you, Mr. President, for inviting all of us. My name is Martin Lundstedt; I'm the president of the Volvo Group.

The President. Volvo.

Mr. Lundstedt. Yes. And among other things, we are the proud owners of Mack Trucks.

The President. That's right. [Laughter]

Mr. Lundstedt. And——

The President. Which are a hundred percent made in the U.S.

Mr. Lundstedt. Absolutely. And Volvo Trucks also, for North America is 100 percent made in the United States as well, as well as our construction equipment in Pennsylvania; as a matter of fact, in Allentown and Shippensburg and in Middletown, in New River Valley in Virginia. So we are primarily focused on the East Coast. We are just now running the biggest investment program in our company's history, in the United States, for R&D.

The President. Great. How much with you will be investing?

Mr. Lundstedt. We'll be, for the time being, just north of 2 billion U.S. dollars into—on that specific program. But we have a big share of—[inaudible]—very, very good and talented engineers for the future technology as well, when it comes to infrastructure and transportation. Autonomous and—[inaudible].

The President. That's great. Absolutely. Well, we're going to be doing a lot of that. I asked the question before, when I heard Volvo, and I know they own Mack Truck—I said, what's the difference in price—[laughter]—between a Mack and a Volvo comparable truck? And you said——

Mr. Lundstedt. I said, I mean things are very strong, multiplication aside—[inaudible]. [Laughter] But it's nearly 15 percent.

The President. He said they're both great, but a Mack is about 15 percent more. [Laughter] That was very, very good. Thank you very much for that investment in the U.S. Two billion dollars is great. Thank you very much.

Adidas AG Chief Executive Officer Kasper Rorsted. Mr. President, thank you for the invitation. I represent the adidas team.

The President. Adidas, good.

Mr. Rorsted. America is our single biggest country, and we've grown 30 percent in the U.S. And some of the most famous creators of our products are coming out of the U.S., starting with Stan Smith in the seventies.

The President. Sure.

Mr. Rorsted. Kanye West, that I work—building one of the most sought-after shoes in the world. And we just opened a fully automated shoe manufacturing plant in the State of Georgia, in Atlanta.

The President. That's fantastic. Great. Great job.

Bayer AG Chief Executive Officer Werner Baumann. So, my name is Werner Baumann, I'm the CEO of Bayer. That's a company that, in the future, will be known as the company that was formerly the aspirin company.

The President. Yes.

Mr. Baumann. So we are working heavily on acquiring Monsanto, a national icon in the U.S., making good progress. And I hope to close this transaction early 2018, so it should be a minute.

The President. So what percentage of your company is the aspirin?

Mr. Baumann. Aspirin is a 1.1—just about 1.1 billion euro, so $1.4 billion.

The President. So that's a pretty small percentage.

Mr. Baumann. It's relatively small, but it's one of the few brands that has been growing for 120 years. It's very profitable. And I think you take it as well. [Laughter]

The President. I do. I take one a day. [Laughter] I generally—I should say, I only take Bayer. [Laughter] One aspirin a day. That's—so far, it's been working. But it's a great company. So are you going to be investing in the U.S.?

Mr. Baumann. Yes, we are. We will actually consolidate most of our activities also into the Monsanto headquarters—the former Monsanto headquarters in St. Louis. We're going to invest about $16 billion, if you look at our R&D bill——

The President. Sixteen billion, wow.

Mr. Baumann. ——our R&D investment in crop alone. And 60 percent out of that is going to be in the U.S. over the next 6 years.

The President. That's fantastic. Thank you very much. That's really great. Thank you.

HSBC Holdings plc Group Chairman Mark E. Tucker. My name is Mark Tucker from HSBC. HSBC, you know well.

The President. I do.

Mr. Tucker. Our business in the U.S. was—began in nineteen—1865. And we're the largest foreign bank in the U.S. We had a business—we have a balance sheet of $2.6 trillion.

The President. That's right.

Mr. Tucker. We have—we work in 70 countries, and we have a market cap of around $250 billion. The commitment to the U.S.—we have a very strong business here and a business that will continue to grow.

The President. And you founded one of the most successful businesses in China. That is a big statement. You did a great job. So it's a great honor to have you. Thank you very much. It's a fantastic job you've done. I know all about you. [Laughter] I know everything about you. Thank you.

Mr. Tucker. That's dangerous, Mr. President. [Laughter]

The President. I know. Few people have done what you've done. Congratulations.

Mr. Tucker. Thank you.

Total S.A. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanné. I'm Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of Total, which is an oil and gas company——

The President. Yes.

Mr. Pouyanné. ——the fourth largest in the world. We are in 50 countries; we are in the U.S., 7,000 people. We do almost everything in your country. We produce oil, we explore. We are just making a big discovery in the Gulf of Mexico—oil discovery.

The President. Great.

Mr. Pouyanné. We produce gas in Texas. We are investing in an LNG plant in Louisiana——

The President. Good.

Mr. Pouyanné. We will export gas from the U.S.

The President. Good.

Mr. Pouyanné. What else? We are just deciding to invest $3 billion in petrochemicals in Texas.

The President. Good.

Mr. Pouyanné. Of a big new factory, a big plant, creating 100—1,500 jobs. We have 7,000 people in your country and in 23 States.

The President. So you're fourth in the world, fourth largest—wow.

Mr. Pouyanné. Yes, we are fourth largest in the world, and third by reserves—more than 10 billion barrel reserves. But yes, despite the oil price, we invest around $15 billion each year and one—at least $1 billion as an average in the U.S. And you, of course, for us—the U.S.—[inaudible]—gas revolution, shale revolution—is the land, it's a nebulous business case, because low-cost energy, low feedstock—low-cost feedstock. So we come, and even we will do more with your tax reform, no?

The President. It's a great company.

Mr. Pouyanné. And we are also invested in renewables.

The President. Right.

Mr. Pouyanné. I know, maybe you disagree—[laughter]—but in solar business, in a U.S. company.

The President. Good.

Mr. Pouyanné. We are the majority shareholder of SunPower, California company, high-tech company. And so we are heavily invested in—we have invested more than $2 billion in that company to develop solar in the U.S.

The President. And we'll rebuild that business. That whole thing is going to get rebuilt now, the solar panels. And it's—you'll see a big difference. But that's very good. So from the U.S. standpoint, you're very happy about it?

Mr. Pouyanné. Yes, I'm happy. To be honest, for SunPower, there is competition with, as you know, with all these——

The President. You have competition?

Mr. Pouyanné. Yes. [Laughter]

The President. That's what we wanted. [Laughter] No, but you've done a great job. Thank you.

Mr. Pouyanné. But—thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. Appreciate it.

Thyssenkrupp AG Chief Executive Officer Heinrich Hiesinger. Mr. President, thank you for the invitation. Heinrich Hiesinger, CEO of thyssenkrupp. We are, and I'd say strongly, localized in the U.S. in elevator engineering, automotive.

The President. Right.

Mr. Hiesinger. Eighty percent is already localized. Very proud that we have all the elevators in the Freedom Tower——

The President. Wow.

Mr. Hiesinger. ——which is, for our people, our big pride. They worked 6 years on that one. And our other thing is, we have 3,000 apprenticeships for young people each and every year.

The President. So, Otis, compared to the size of what you do, where are you?

Mr. Hiesinger. We are quite similar in size.

The President. That's a big company.

Mr. Hiesinger. We are heading to one to one, because years ago, we have acquired Dover.

The President. Right.

Mr. Hiesinger. And this made us quite stronger.

The President. Good. That's good, good. Great product. I've used your product, as you know.

Mr. Hiesinger. Yes.

The President. Great product. Thank you very much.

Mr. Hiesinger. Thank you very much.

Statoil ASA President and Chief Executive Officer Eldar Saetre. So, thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for the invitation. It's an honor. My name is Eldar Saetre. I'm the CEO of Statoil—oil in the name—so that makes for oil and gas, coming from Norway—Norwegian, Norway. We've been present in the U.S. for 30 years now. Substantial investments over the years. So we're engaged both in the onshore, the offshore, tradings, extensive trading business, and also renewables.

The President. Right.

Mr. Saetre. Not the solar, but offshore wind, actually.

So quite sizeable business, not as big as Total yet, but we're working on it. So we are growing and increasing our production in—we are in three areas onshore; six, increasing to eight fields offshore. Three hundred thousand-plus barrels a day currently——

The President. Wow, that's good.

Mr. Saetre. ——growing to around 400,000. So it's our second biggest location outside of the Norwegian bloc——

The President. Right.

Mr. Saetre. ——the Norwegian continental shelf. So we are growing in terms of production, and obviously also in terms of investment.

So I would like to congratulate you——

The President. Okay.

Mr. Saetre. ——like many of us here, on the tax reform. I think that is really good news, I guess, for all of us here, but also for the oil and gas and our industry.

The President. Good news for a lot of people.

Mr. Saetre. Going to serve us well. I'd just mention, oil and gas is also a heavily regulated business.

The President. Right.

Mr. Saetre. So your thinking and your reflections on what you're doing on regulations is good news.

The President. We're opening it up, and we're becoming energy self-sufficient very rapidly. We really, just about, are hitting that mark. And as you know, we're opening up a lot of different places in the U.S., including the plants that you're building. A lot of places are opening that would never even have—they wouldn't have even conceived of them. So a lot of things are happening.

Thank you. Great job you've done. Thank you very much.

Novartis International AG Chief Executive Officer Vasant Narasimhan. Mr. President, thank you very much for the honor of being here. I'm CEO of Novartis. We're one of the largest health care companies in the world. We focus on innovative medicines, generics, as well as eye care.

Today, we have about 22,000 employees in the U.S. across 21 sites. We invest about $14 billion every year into the United States, including $3½ billion in research. It's one of our key, obviously, markets, but also key places where we drive innovation.

The President. Right.

Mr. Narasimhan. And we're really pleased with the tax reform, but also very pleased with the great progress being made at FDA. We believe you have a great leadership team there and they're doing all the right things to accelerate innovation and access.

The President. Scott is great, and Alex is great. You know, Alex is just starting——

Mr. Narasimhan. Yes.

The President. ——and he's highly respected. So that's fantastic. Scott Gottlieb——

Mr. Narasimhan. Scott, right.

The President. ——as you know, is a star.

Mr. Narasimhan. He is a star. And I think his vision for tobacco and trying to improve and reduce the use of tobacco around the world is also very inspiring.

The President. That's very good. Thank you very much.

ABB Ltd. President and Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Spiesshofer. Mr. President, thank you very much for having me tonight. I serve the people of ABB. We have business in more than a hundred countries of the world, but we have made, the last 8 years, the U.S. an investment focus. We have deployed $13 billion of capital and bought some iconic brands in the U.S., like Baldor in Fort Smith, Arkansas——

The President. Right, right.

Mr. Spiesshofer. ——a motor company. And we are just now in the process of closing the transaction to acquire GE Industrial Solutions, a fantastic business, in terms of installed base. It needs a little bit of investment, in terms of technology, and we have the right technology.

The President. Did you get a good price? Did you get a good price?

Mr. Spiesshofer. I got a good price, yes. [Laughter]

The President. I know you got a—you always get a good price. [Laughter] I know who I deal with. He always gets a good price. That's good.

Mr. Spiesshofer. No. Altogether—so we have today now, including the GE transaction, we'll have 26,000 people——

The President. Right.

Mr. Spiesshofer. ——in the U.S., in more than 60 sites, nicely spread all—over all the U.S. And we have the classic copper-and-iron activities, the motors. And just last week, we spent all day—with the entire executive committee team, time in the Silicon Valley, because there we have an AI and robotics center that we firmly intend to grow further and invest significantly to support the U.S. in the next level of industrialization.

The President. One year writeoff.

Mr. Spiesshofer. Yes.

The President. Big difference, right? [Laughter]

Mr. Spiesshofer. Yes.

The President. That's probably the biggest sleeper in the whole tax bill.

Mr. Spiesshofer. Absolutely.

The President. Thank you. Great job. Good luck with the GE purchase.

Mr. Spiesshofer. Thank you.

The President. Read about it.

Mr. Spiesshofer. We need that. [Laughter]

The President. Sounds good. You'll be fine. You'll be just fine. [Laughter] Go ahead.

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV Chief Executive Officer Carlos Brito. Mr. President, thank you very much for the invitation. I'm the CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the beer company.

The President. Yes. Anheuser-Busch. That's right.

Mr. Brito. We have business in more than 50 countries around the world. We sell beer in more than a hundred countries. Our number one local beer brand is Budweiser, out of St. Louis.

The President. Right. We know it well. [Laughter]

Mr. Brito. We started there in 1852, and we've been in the beer business for more than 600 years. Our Belgian business dates back to 1366, our Belgian company. And our biggest market is the U.S., where we employ 18,000 people in more than 50 sites.

The President. Great.

Mr. Brito. And we've just announced last year a program through 2020—$2 billion investment in our facilities in the U.S.

The President. That's fantastic. That's good. Thank you very much. That's fantastic. Thank you very much.

Mr. Brito. It's a great market for us. Thank you, sir.

SAP SE Chief Executive Officer William R. McDermott. Hey, Mr. President. I'd like to thank you, first of all, for having me, but also for spurring on all this growth, because these are all my customers.

The President. I know, I know. [Laughter]

Mr. McDermott. I mean, it's kind of amazing to have all your customers talking about adding jobs and growing their business. And it's just a real tribute to the momentum that you've created in the global economy. So I thank you very much.

The President. Sure.

Mr. McDermott. SAP is the leading enterprise software company. We have 90,000 people around the world. In the United States, we're quickly approaching 25,000. It's the fastest growing region of the world, especially in jobs.

I'm very proud to share with you that, when you think about the Army and the Navy, and the missions they run to protect the world, they run on SAP.

The President. Right. That's right.

Mr. McDermott. And when you think about the Vice President, in the State of Indiana, for example, solving infant mortality issues and things like that, we were working hand in glove with him there as well.

So it's a real honor, and thank you for having me. And we look forward to helping in any way we can.

The President. And you have done a really spectacular job. I guess pretty much everybody at this table is your customer, so that's not so bad.

Mr. McDermott. Exactly. Exactly.

The President. I want to congratulate you.

Mr. McDermott. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you. [Laughter]

Participant. Now he gets to pay for dinner. [Laughter]

The President. So I want to thank everybody. Really, you have done incredible work, incredible jobs. These are some of the great companies of the world, many of the great companies of the world. And congratulations.

And now we'll talk. And thank you very much. Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 7:40 p.m at the Davos Congress Centre. In his remarks, he referred to Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Department of Health and Human Services; and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II. Mr. Rorsted referred to former professional tennis player Stanley R. Smith; and musician Kanye O. West. Mr. McDermott referred to Vice President Michael R. Pence, in his former capacity as Governor of Indiana.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a Dinner With European Business Leaders in Davos, Switzerland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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