Worries of a disruption to the global trading system have escalated in recent weeks, but the chief executive of a major Australian bank said the international trading system is fundamentally here to stay.
"The reality is China's still going to be importing iron ore, people are still going to be eating food and need to import dairy products and beef, and Australia and New Zealand and the rest of Asia's still going to be importing cars and washing machines and all those things," Shayne Elliott, the CEO of ANZ Bank, told CNBC's Oriel Morrison.
"So there will be a fundamental need to continue trade," he said in an interview.
ANZ, the third-largest lender in Australia, has spent the last few years fine-tuning operations to focus on corporate and institutional clients — helping them to move products and money around the Asia Pacific region.
That business focus may make ANZ more vulnerable to any disruption to the global trading system.
In recent weeks, the U.S. and China threatened to impose tariffs on each other's goods. The International Monetary Fund's managing director Christine Lagarde on Wednesday warned that the system governing global trade is at risk of being torn apart.
But Elliott said the bank has not been hit by the escalating trade tensions between the two largest economies in the world. If the situation deteriorates, some direct impact is likely, the CEO acknowledged, adding that the bigger worry is that the conflict could hurt the wider economy.