Trade war 'uncertainty' is affecting the world's top chemicals firm, and it wants a quick deal

Key Points
  • "The biggest issue here is the uncertainty. Uncertainty is causing problems with planning," Sanjeev Gandhi, a member of the board of executive directors at German chemicals firm BASF, told CNBC at the China Development Forum on Sunday.
  • In January, BASF inked a $10 billion framework agreement with the Guangdong government to build a chemicals complex in China's most populous province.
An employee walks through the production facility of BASF-YPC Company in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China.
Qilai Shen | Corbis Historical | Getty Images

The world's largest chemicals company wants the trade war to end quickly.

"The biggest issue here is the uncertainty. Uncertainty is causing problems with planning," Sanjeev Gandhi, a member of the board of executive directors at German chemicals firm BASF, told CNBC on Sunday. "The uncertainty is also affecting our business negatively."

Trade friction between the U.S. and China has hurt BASF, which has a large presence in China, the world's largest chemical market.

"The expectation is that there is a solution found, and the solution comes soon," Gandhi told Eunice Yoon at the China Development Forum in Beijing. "Short term, this will lift the sentiment of the market, it will clear away the uncertainties, and hopefully that brings us back to business as usual."

In January, BASF inked a $10 billion framework agreement with the Guangdong government to build a chemicals complex in China's most populous province. It will be China's first wholly foreign-owned chemicals complex — and the German firm's single largest investment.

Reuters reported that the deal concluded quickly, in part due to fears that the U.S.-China conflict could hurt investment prospects in Guangdong. That in turn prompted government officials to be more open to the BASF deal, the news agency said, quoting people familiar with the matter.

Gandhi disagreed with that assessment. He said that BASF has been active in China for more than 134 years, and has invested more than 8 billion euros ($9.06 billion) there in the past decade.

"We have a very good reputation. We bring the latest innovative solutions to our customers in China. If China is welcoming BASF, it is not because of the opportunity, it is because of our track record," Gandhi said.