U.S. billionaire investor Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, visits an exhibition on his invested companies before the Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, the United States, on May 5, 2018. Berkshire Hathaway held its 2018 shareholders meeting on Saturday, attended by tens of thousands of people from all over the world. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
U.S. billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Saturday that the world depends on the United States and China for progress, dismissing concerns that the two countries' trade tensions could potentially escalate into a trade war.
Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, made the remarks in response to a Chinese investor's question about U.S.-China trade relations at the Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders meeting.
"The United States and China are going to be the two superpowers of the world, economically and in other ways, for a long, long, long time," Buffett said.
"We have a lot of common interests, and like any two big economic entities, there are times when there'll be tensions, but it is a win-win situation when the world trades," the investor said.
Both Democrats and Republicans in the United States believe in the benefits of free trade, he said.
The benefits of free trade are huge, and the world is dependent on it in a major way for its progress, Buffett said.
Speaking of the U.S. trade deficit, Buffett said he would not like the gap to get too wide, but "when you think about it, it's really not the worst thing in the world to have someone send you the goods that you want and for you to send a piece of paper."
The only problem is when one side may want to win a little bit too much, he said, adding the world will not sacrifice its prosperity based on differences that arise in trade.
The investor also implied that he is willing to invest more in China this year.
He is turning 88 this August, and eight, he said, is a very lucky number in China.
This could be the time to acquire something in China, Buffett said.
While the primary focus of his company remains on U.S. businesses, investment opportunities in other parts of the world, including emerging markets, will also be taken into account, according to Buffett.
Berkshire Hathaway is looking to "find big things to do" in big and growing economies that hold potential, such as China, Buffett said in a video released at the U.S.-China Investor Forum held one day prior to the shareholders meeting.
In the video, he called China's growth in the past 60 years or so "a total economic miracle." "I never would have thought it could have happened," Buffett said.
Berkshire Hathaway currently has a stake in China's automobile manufacturer BYD. Buffett said the investment "has being doing so well lately."