Walmart CEO hopes US, China can fix trade issues for 'collaborative' relationship
'We want to be able to do business in China,' Doug McMillon tells 'Mornings with Maria'
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said Wednesday he hopes the U.S. and China will build a "collaborative" relationship as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to blow up the countries' recent trade agreement.
"It is our hope that these countries will work together, this administration and in years to come, to find ways to have a collaborative relationship," McMillon told "Mornings with Maria." "We want to be able to do business in China. I know a lot of American businesses and farmers want to as well."
Walmart has more than 400 stores and clubs in China and is building up e-commerce operations there, McMillon said.
"We buy products out of China, but in the U.S. about two-thirds of what we sell is made in the United States," he added.
As of July, China was lagging behind on purchase commitments made to the U.S. under a phase one trade agreement that President Trump hailed as a signature accomplishment of his first term.
After a slow start as the COVID-19 pandemic roiled global commerce, Beijing has bought just $56.4 billion of American goods this year, according to Chinese data. The partial trade deal signed in January said China, over the next two years, must buy $200 billion more of U.S. exports than the roughly $130 billion bought in 2017.
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McMillon also addressed the need for government support of small business amid the coronavirus pandemic. Walmart has hired roughly 500,000 people since mid-March, but many of those roles are temporary, he said.
"A lot of those people lost jobs," McMillon said. "They’ve got to have jobs to go back to. We need Congress to come together to figure out what steps needed to be taken so small businesses are protected."
Walmart shared earnings on Tuesday. The retailer's profit spiked 79% in the three months through June as more Americans ordered goods online while riding out the COVID-19 pandemic from home.
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The Bentonville, Ark.-based big-box retailer earned $6.48 billion, or an adjusted $1.56 per share, topping the $1.25 that Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. Total revenue rose 5.4% to $137.7 billion, beating the $135.48 billion consensus.
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Fox Business' Jonathan Garber and R.N. White contributed to this report.