Foreign corporations would dramatically scale back their plans to invest in the U.S. if billionaire Donald Trump is elected president, according to a survey conducted in January for global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.
The election of a populist such as Trump or Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders would prompt fewer companies to increase their spending in the U.S. and more corporations to scale back their outlays over the next one to three years, the survey found. The same result would hold for foreign direct investment in the EU should the U.K. vote to leave the bloc.
“The rhetoric of the populist candidates of the right and the left has been very much anti open global economy, wanting to renegotiate trade deals,” Paul A. Laudicina, chairman emeritus of A.T. Kearney, said in an interview. “That gives people reasons to pause.”
Trump is leading the race to become the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, while Sanders trails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s nod.
More than 500 companies with annual revenue of half a billion dollars or more took part in the survey. The participating firms are headquartered in 27 countries and span a wide range of industries from retail to infrastructure construction.
Warren Buffett, for one, doesn’t think a Trump presidency would be the blow to U.S. business that some fear.