CFOs across the world want Trump to focus on corporate tax reform: CNBC survey

Corporate tax reform should be President-elect Donald Trump's number one priority, according to business leaders surveyed by CNBC.

Chief financial officers (CFOs) at multinationals around the world do not see their businesses impacted by Trump's controversial policy proposals, such as the repeal of Obamacare, and are in fact positive about the president-elect's economic approach.

Of the global business leaders who responded, 73.9 percent of U.S.-based CFOs, 85.7 percent of EMEA- based CFOs and 42.9 percent of APAC-based CFOs argued that Trump's principal focus should be corporate tax reform.

CFOs in Europe and Asia said the second priority should be infrastructure investments, while U.S.-based CFOs favored overseas cash repatriation as the second most important priority.

Alexandra Bouriko, CFO of the Russian commodity firm Rusal, told CNBC on Tuesday that she is expecting a boost in the business from the investment agenda of President-elect Trump.

"We expect that further infrastructure spending, construction spending in the United States will provide further base for growth and for our sales into the United States," Bouriko said, adding that the U.S. has been the fastest growing market for the company.

Interestingly, 42.9 percent of Asia-based managers supported the U.S. withdrawal from a trade agreement with Asian countries.

On average, global CFOs do not see any negative impact from Trump's proposals. Either they will have no impact on their business or they will be positive.

Looking at the responses by U.S.-based CFOs only, on average they said that building a wall on the border with Mexico would be negative. Apart from that, all other policies should have a very positive, positive or no impact at all on their business.

They mentioned repeal of Obamacare, infrastructure investments, personal tax reform and repatriation of cash as positive and corporate tax reform as very positive.

The election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote were perhaps the biggest examples of populism this year, 41 percent of global CFOs surveyed said the rise in populism had a negative impact on their business.

However, 46.2 percent said it had no impact on their firm.

The survey was conducted from November 28 to December 7, 2016. Among the 106 members of CNBC's Global CFO Council, 39 responded to the survey (23 U.S., 8 EMEA, and 8 APAC). See full results below.

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