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| 20 March, 2017

DP World optimistic on emerging markets, unconcerned by Trump

Sultan Bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World.

Sultan Bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World.

REUTERS/ Ahmed Jadallah

The Dubai-controlled company's chairman said he expects growth in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

(Adds details, quotes)

By Alexander Cornwell

DUBAI, March 20 (Reuters) - DP World, an operator of ports from Algeria to Peru, is optimistic about growth in emerging markets, undeterred by U.S. President Donald Trump's pursuit of protectionist trade policies.

The Dubai-controlled company's chairman said he expects growth in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

"We see some good times," Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem told reporters on a conference call on Monday.

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Emerging markets and developing economies are projected to expand by 4.5 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), compared with an average global growth rate of 3.4 percent.

DP World, one of the world's largest port operators, will spend $1.2 billion this year, adding capacity at its flagship Jebel Ali port in Dubai and in ports in China, Senegal, Somaliland, Canada and the United Kingdom.

It will also expand in Ecuador, where it won a 50-year concession last year to develop a port in the country's south-west, Bin Sulayem said.

Earlier the company reported a 27.6 percent increase in full year profit to $1.13 billion for 2016.

Bin Sulayem said he did not believe Trump's protectionist policies would affect trade.

"He's trying really to balance the trade with other countries. He wants other countries to open their markets," he said.

DP World operates ports in China and Canada, two countries targeted by Trump's vow to make steep changes to U.S. trade policy.

Trump has pulled the United States out of a 12-nation trade pact that includes many Latin American countries, has said he will renegotiate a multilateral trade deal with Mexico and Canada and threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese imports.

DP World, who were forced to sell U.S. port assets in 2006 over accusations an Arab-owned company presented a national security threat, is open to re-entering the U.S. market, he said, adding that there are no immediate plans.

The company is instead poised to invest in Russia through a joint venture set up in 2016 with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), he said.

(Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Louise Heavens) ((Alexander.Cornwell@thomsonreuters.com;))