Rejecting the ‘nation first concept’: Suntory CEO Takeshi Niinami

Free trade versus protectionism can be a dominant theme at the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, according to the president as well as CEO of Suntory.

The Japanese executive, Takeshi Niinami, argued of which free trade agreements between countries, as well as market penetration are more important than ever in order to “reject the nation first concept.”

Business leaders need to “support free trade penetrating to various other countries” through large-scale agreements, which are “so important to resist the prevailing protectionism,” Niinami told CNBC.

The CEO pointed to both NAFTA as well as the TPP-11 — the group of 11 countries of which remained committed to forging a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement after President Donald Trump pulled out of in 2017 — as examples of such deals.

Trump’s TPP decision, widely seen as a U.S. turn to protectionist behavior, falls in line with his “America First” rhetoric.

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