The policies that could come from President-elect Donald Trump’s tough stance on trade won’t substantially affect the Canada-based Imax Corporation despite its business in China, Imax CEO Richard Gelfond told CNBC on Friday.
The president-elect has spoken critically of China and floated the possibility of placing tariffs on Chinese goods, which would deliver a blow to the Chinese economy.
Still, Gelfond told CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” he isn’t worried. Not only is Imax’s parent company Canadian, but Imax spun off its Chinese branch in October 2015, both of which will help the entertainment giant dodge the risks facing U.S. firms, he said.
“I think even if the worst case happens, it’s not really going to affect us in a material way,” Gelfond said. “But also, our business is pretty good over there and I think the movie industry is unlikely to be an industry that’s impacted by a lot of the talk.”
And according to Gelfond, the coincidence of the lucky spin-off wasn’t wholly unplanned, though the CEO did say the company decided to separate its China business mainly to “be part of the landscape of China” and be closer to its Chinese investors.
“We … try to insulate ourselves in advance from what could go wrong, and in fact I think we’re in pretty good shape,” Gelfond said.
Gelfond also wasn’t so convinced that Trump would maintain his hardliner approach to China.
“China is such a big part of the global growth story, and the U.S. makes a lot of money in China,” the CEO said. “It’s very complicated and I wouldn’t be surprised to see [Trump] moderate his views.”
Beyond that, the Chinese film industry is flourishing and stimulating economic growth there, giving the country little reason to mar its own successes and push the conflict with Trump, the CEO contended.