They’re used to meeting with Australian prime ministers and world leaders like Chinese President Xi Jinping, so it was only a matter of time before BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie and chairman Jac Nasser broke bread with US President-elect Donald Trump.
The BHP leaders visited Trump Tower in New York overnight, to be introduced to the man who will take control of the world’s biggest economy later this month.
It is understood their conversation focused on the global economy and the broader outlook for the resources industry.
The men are also understood to have spent some time discussing the future of BHP’s US assets, which are dominated by the oil and gas division which is based in the Republican Party heartland of Houston, Texas.
BHP also has a stake in a copper project in Arizona, which made headlines during last year’s presidential campaign after being opposed by Democrat party nominee Bernie Sanders.
“BHP Billiton chairman Jac Nasser and chief executive Andrew Mackenzie had a productive meeting with President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence today in New York City,” said BHP in a statement.
“They discussed a wide range of subject areas, including the global resources sector, and BHP Billiton’s investment in the US. The company looks forward to working with the new administration.”
Mr Trump’s nationalist policies and threats to impose tariffs on cheap Chinese imports could have a big impact on BHP, which counts China as its biggest customer.
But BHP shares have also rallied since Mr Trump’s election, amid investor hopes the new leader will spend billions upgrading US infrastructure.
The meeting comes barely two months after Mr Nasser predicted that some of Mr Trump’s campaign rhetoric would not become official policy once he was in the White House.
“What you have seen in the US political process recently is quite a lot of rhetoric and some of which will happen and some of it won’t, I happen to think we should wait, have the discussions, but wait until we see what some of the key cabinet appointments are, made by this new administration, because then it will become more clear,” said Mr Nasser at BHP’s annual meeting of shareholders in Brisbane on November 17.
“I think some of the policies that have been listed at this stage will probably be moderated over time … the wall became a fence, and when he starts to appoint his advisers and cabinet members it will become more apparent.
“You never bet against the US and I don’t think they’re going to do things that will hurt the US.”
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