Top business leaders are freaking out about trade.
Nearly six in 10 global CEOs are worried about protectionism and rising trade barriers, according to a new survey by PwC. That’s up from 40% in 2012.
Fears are even more pronounced in the U.S. and Mexico, where 64% of business leaders are concerned.
The increase has a lot to do with Donald Trump. The president-elect of the U.S. has threatened to scrap free trade deals and impose tariffs on many of the country’s top trading partners.
PwC said concern about protectionism among the U.S. CEOs increased by a full 10 percentage points after the election: 61% of those surveyed before Nov. 8 were worried compared to 71% after Trump’s victory.
“I think we’ll see the emergence of nationalism, economic nationalism, in a much more fundamental way than we’ve seen over the last 20 years,” John Patrick Hourican, CEO of Bank of Cyprus, said in response to the survey.
PwC interviewed 1,379 CEOs in 79 countries for the survey between September and December. They represent companies of all sizes across different sectors.
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