Donald Trump’s win may be Asia’s loss

Donald Trump’s election as US president poses significant new risks. Not just for Chinese growth, but the entire Asian region


US president-elect Donald Trump wants to slap punitive tariffs on Chinese goods and label the world’s No. 2 economy a currency manipulator. Photo: AP
US president-elect Donald Trump wants to slap punitive tariffs on Chinese goods and label the world’s No. 2 economy a currency manipulator. Photo: AP

Just when China’s economy seemed to be stabilizing, Donald Trump’s election as US president poses significant new risks. Not just for Chinese growth, but the entire Asian region.

That’s because the president-elect campaigned on a policy platform with protectionism at its centre. Trump wants to slap punitive tariffs on Chinese goods and label the world’s No. 2 economy a currency manipulator.

Such a move would hurt Chinese exports. But it could also trigger a trade war if Beijing retaliates, catching other Asian economies in the crossfire.

Other worries: a planned major regional trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, likely won’t get off the ground. Slower trade flows and rising uncertainty means less investment and weaker growth. Then there are controls on movement of people, the risk of capital repatriation back to the US and major security concerns.

“Profound changes in US trade and security relations with the region are likely and probably negative,” economists at Morgan Stanley wrote in a note.

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