Damac Properties chairman says he is ‘sympathetic’ to Trump’s trade war with China

Sajwani said free trade was a necessity, not a luxury and that he understand why President Trump feels that China is a difficult trade partner on the world stage.
Hussain Sajwani, chairman, Damac Properties.
Hussain Sajwani, chairman, Damac Properties.

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Dubai-based billionaire Hussain Sajwani, who has golf course deals with the Trump Organization, says he understands why the US president is taking a tough stance on trade with China, and is sympathetic to his grievances.

In an interview with Bloomberg at Damac’s London offices, Sajwani said free trade was a necessity, not a luxury and that he understand why President Trump feels that China is a difficult trade partner on the world stage.

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“I’m not a politician. I’m busy 24 hours a day, seven days a week, looking after my business,” he said, when asked if his golf course deals give him the ability to advise Trump on foreign relations. “[But], the world needs free trade. It isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. In any trade relation, the two parties involved have to be happy and feel equally treated.”

“If the markets in the US or Europe are open to Chinese companies to do business, non-Chinese companies should be treated on the same basis there,” he added. “Doing business in China has been one of the big challenges for global companies. That’s where I feel sympathetic to the US government when they want equal treatment.”

Poor trading conditions for Dubai property developers and a subsequent slump in Damac’s shares have slashed Sajwani’s fortune this year by more than a quarter to about US $3.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Sajwani added during the interview that he is unperturbed by these fluctuations and expects Dubai’s real estate market to rebound within the next three years.

Damac, founded by Sajwani in 2002, reported revenue last week of AED1.5 billion (US $408 million) for the three months through September, a 33 percent drop from the same period a year earlier.