There is a chance that US President Donald Trump will not run for a second term in the White House, according to a former Special Economic and Policy Assistant to former US President George W Bush.
Dr Pippa Malmgren, who is in Dublin today to speak to over 800 business people at PwC's annual Business Forum, believes Mr Trump wants to launch TNN - Trump News Network - and that this was the original reason why he ran for the presidency.
"I suspect he still has that vision. He thinks it's a bigger platform and he may not be wrong about that. I'm wondering, why is Kanye in the West Wing? Why is he talking to the Kardashians? It suddenly makes sense if he's launching an entertainment station with everything from reality TV to talk shows, " Dr Malmgren said, adding that a platform like TNN might be more powerful than the West Wing.
Dr Malmgren believes the US President's trade war with China is part of his desire to announce "a very big deal". "He's a property guy. He loves announcing deals, and that's what he is after here, and frankly the Chinese want this deal as well," she added.
The midterm election results means Mr Trump is not going to get anything on domestic affairs, according to Dr Malmgren, and so he is going to put all his attention on foreign affairs. "What he wants is to say is 'I made China bow to America's position'. Whether in the end that is really true or not is different. The Chinese are going to say, what we want is an arrangement that we can all work with for many years to come. I suspect we will get a deal between the Americans and the Chinese before Trump leaves office."
One of the topics that Dr Malmgren will discuss at PwC's annual Business Forum is Brexit. She is advising the British government on Brexit, but her views on the subject are her own. She said she is often asked which side will win - the British or the EU?
"My answer always is, why can't they both succeed with very different business models. I think the British are going to do a lot more trade with the world whichever framework they end up with, because the whole debate about Brexit has caused the business community to say look at how fast the US economy is growing, look at what's happening in Latin America, Africa, Asia. I think they are diversifying like crazy and I think that's a very good thing for the British economy, and all of that is great for Ireland, if both of them succeed."
One of the complaints that unites business people in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain is the lack of clarity. They are operating in an information vacuum. Dr Malmgren said the British government is working on "what is the actual deal", and while the government is in the middle of negotiations, "we have to leave this to the Prime Minister who is, I think, doing her best to get to a framework".
She said the bottom line is that trade will happen regardless of the framework so everybody should be getting ready to just keep doing business. "International investors are very interested in deploying more capital into the UK regardless of the sector because it's leading in artificial intelligence; it's very strong in manufacturing; every time sterling goes down, it's a better deal. As someone who worked in that sector for many years, the idea that it's all going to move to the continent doesn't make any sense" she said.
"The idea that it's completely removed from the UK doesn't make any sense either," she said, "because what drives it is rule of law and tax policy and innovation. I think the UK will continue to have a very attractive picture on all those fronts."
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