Over half (but at 54.9% only just over half) either strongly agreed or agreed that Trump will have a negative impact on the European food industry while a majority of readers believed the billionaire property mogul’s term at the While House will negatively affect their business (43%) but almost as many (39%) said this won't the case.
Trump’s background as a businessman seemed to play a part in mitigating some worries.
“I believe Mr. Trump's term will foster a thriving business environment for the US and for Europe," wrote one US reader. "He will put his country first as all nations must, but as a successful businessman, he is well aware that an environment of cooperation and trust [with] our allied nations is critical to everyone's success.”
For one British reader, however, it's Trump's very background in business that is cause for concern. “Trump will put profit and big business profit before anything - he will look at developing this model with other countries around the world [at] the cost of the environmental and economic benefits smaller companies can achieve.
“We all thought George W. Bush was a puppet for big business but I think we are looking at something completely different as Trump has to achieve his pledges no matter what - especially when his business acumen reputation is on the line. God help America!”
But uncertainty still prevails. All the survey questions received between 10 and 35% of respondents replying 'don't know'.
“We do not know any of his policies,” said one Danish reader. "All he has spouted so far is political rhetoric in the heat of a heated and nasty campaign. So [it's] impossible to predict what will happen next."
"[We] don't know! The man is unpredictable," said another.
TTIP and the impact on trade
In the run-up to the election, the business mogul-turned-politician was outspoken about international trade deals, telling supporters he would withdraw the US from the not-yet-ratified Trans Pacific Partnership (slamming it as the “rape of our country”).
He also pledged to renegotiate terms of North American Free Trade Agreement (“the worst trade deal ever”) between the US, Canada and Mexico in order to get a better deal for the US.
So what does his victory mean for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), already on shaky ground after three years of negotiations?
EU commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmström said last week that TTIP "will probably be in the freezer for quite some time" following Trump's victory.
Most of our survey's respondents (43%) believed TTIP would not see the light of day although 35% were unsure.
'An authoritarian mentality in pursuit of US visions only'
“He made it clear his main objective in international negotiations will be to make the US the big winners of every treaty. To me it seems pretty impossible to reach a fair deal between European and US industries following Trump's convictions,” said one reader from Spain.
This was echoed by a South African respondent: “He will use strong arm tactics and [an] authoritarian mentality in pursuit of US visions only.”
Around 70% of respondents said it will become more difficult to exports European products to the US, with nearly half of these saying they ‘strongly agreed’ this would be the case, although 21% disagreed.
Fewer people (35%) believed it would become more difficult for US companies to export to Europe although one reader warned of a ‘tit for tat’ situation: “It will cause European governments to take retaliatory measures (tariff and taxes) against the US if he restrains or makes the import of food from Europe into the US more expensive. Overall, foreign trade with the US could become more expensive, or less 'attractive' and more complex.”
But not everyone agreed. "[I'm] looking forward to see an open mind attitude for trade exchange with USA and global market," said one reader based in Sudan.
Around 44% said Trump will create a better business environment for big food companies internationally but only 28% believed this would be the case for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).
“[It's] great to have a man with corporate experience rather than a ‘let’s please everyone regardless of results’ politician,” said one respondent from the USA.
Any hope for the environment?
Trump recently declared global warming to be a hoax and has also said he intends to cut US funding commitments to tackle climate change and “cancel” the COP21 Paris Agreement.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, a strong majority (67%) said the impact on the environment will be negative, with most people strongly in agreement. Less than one quarter (24%) disagreed.
Meanwhile, one Swiss reader believed public health could be impacted due to Trump’s “inclination to be more lax with fast food and unhealthy eating behaviours”.
'Let's hope this brings the European food industry closer together.'
Some readers were determined to see the silver lining.
“Overall [it’s] not good, however [there’s] only so much change can be implemented within one term,” commented one reader.
“Let's hope this brings the European food industry closer together to get the most out of the opportunities that will likely come to Europe as a result of the Trump presidency,” said another reader from the Netherlands.