Marriott International's lodging business would be particularly threatened in a trade war due to locally brokered deals with foreign partners, President and CEO Arne Sorenson told CNBC on Tuesday.
"In a trade war, anything can happen," Sorenson said on "Squawk Box" in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "Of concern to us would be questions around immigration and trade."
Marriott's deals for its international sites are all done through partners in the corresponding territories, which could be especially dangerous if colder trade relations between the United States and foreign entities were to arise during a Donald Trump presidency, Sorenson said.
"Every deal we do, we do with a local partner. Every deal we have in China is with a local real estate company," the CEO said.
And, if Marriott International were to come under fire by the Trump administration for doing deals in other countries, that could hurt trade relations more than Marriott's brand itself, he said.
"It's not that simple to look at us and say, 'You're an American company and therefore we're going to penalize you,' because in fact, you'd be penalizing the Chinese real estate partner more than us in some respects," Sorenson said.