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US tariffs on China could end up getting delayed, Blackstone CEO says

  • President Donald Trump's proposed tariffs on Chinese products could be delayed, Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group said at the China Development Forum.
  • "I anticipate that rational people will be able to come to a really good solution," he told CNBC.

Washington's proposed tariffs of as much as $60 billion against Chinese goods have sparked fears of a trade war but the tax measure isn't set in stone, said the CEO of one of the world's biggest private equity firms.

"Most of the type of things being discussed by the U.S. side can be delayed in terms of their implementation, and hopefully will be," said Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group, which had $434 billion in assets under management at the end of 2017.

"I anticipate that rational people will be able to come to a really good solution," he told CNBC at the China Development Forum on Saturday. "There's an opportunity to accelerate the efforts of both countries to find an equitable solution."

Stephen Schwarzman speaking at Delivering Alpha in New York on Sept. 13, 2016.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Stephen Schwarzman speaking at Delivering Alpha in New York on Sept. 13, 2016.

The goal is for companies from each country to compete on a more level playing field, he continued.

Schwarzman is the private equity industry's highest earner with a 2017 salary of $786 million, according to Reuters. The Washington Post recently dubbed him President Donald Trump's "China whisperer" for having the leader's ear on matters related to the world's second-largest economy.

When asked what Trump's line of thinking was regarding the China duties, Schwarzman said the president has been "pretty consistent in terms of just wanting to have what he would call fair trade."

Trump has been clear on "having similar burdens on each country so that the most competitive company wins," Schwarzman added.