Blackstone's Schwarzman: New U.S. admin going to take a 'softer tone' towards China

FILE PHOTO: Stephen Schwarzman, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Blackstone, speaks during the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City, New York, U.S., September 25, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Blackstone Group Inc Chairman Stephen Schwarzman said on Tuesday that the new U.S. administration was going to take a “softer tone” towards China, and that he expected lower tensions between the two countries.

Schwarzman, one of Wall Street’s biggest donors to President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, was speaking at a finance forum in Hong Kong.

“There is really a very substantial overlap of interest in these countries and the interest of the world,” he said. “I expect to see much less tension.”

Schwarzman’s remarks came one day before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Outgoing President Donald Trump rushed through final executive orders against China during his last week in office, including assessment of security risks of Chinese drones and requiring U.S. investors to completely divest from the securities of 44 companies deemed to be linked to the Chinese military.

Investors expected more clarity from Biden’s administration regarding the rules but were not hopeful for a fundamental change of relationship between the world’s two biggest economies.

Schwarzman served as chair of Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum and was involved in trade talks between the U.S. and China, according to his autobiography published in 2019.

His firm Blackstone invests in China’s real estate, pharmaceutical and other sectors.

Schwarzman also founded the Schwarzman Scholars, an international postgraduate scholarship programme at China’s Tsinghua University.

Reporting by Kane Wu; Writing by Sumeet Chatterjee, editing by Louise Heavens