Dominguez: PH closely watch­ing US-China feud

Sun.Star Cebu - - BUSINESS -

The Philip­pines is keep­ing tabs on the brew­ing trade dis­pute be­tween the United States and China—two of its largest trad­ing part­ners—and is hop­ing that both sides would even­tu­ally set their dif­fer­ences aside and is­sue a re­newed com­mit­ment to lib­er­al­iza­tion, ac­cord­ing to Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez III.

Given that such dis­putes “gen­er­ally end up with no­body win­ning,” Dominguez said the Philip­pines as well as its fel­low mem­ber-states in the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (Asean) have ex­pressed con­cern over the US-China trade row dur­ing the re­cently con­cluded meet­ings in Sin­ga­pore of the re­gion’s fi­nance min­is­ters and cen­tral bank gover­nors.

“The Philip­pines is watch­ing very care­fully, as are the Asean fi­nance min­is­ters to see how this trade dis­pute will work out. We’re hop­ing that cooler heads will pre­vail, and that there will be a re­newed com­mit­ment to open­ness to lib­er­al­iza­tion and to fair­ness for ev­ery­body,” said Dominguez in an in­ter­view in Sin­ga­pore on the side­lines of the re­cent Asean Fi­nance Min­is­ters’ and Cen­tral Bank Gover­nors’ Meet­ings.

In a later in­ter­view in Clark, Pam­panga, Dominguez said the Philip­pines would not be se­verely af­fected by the sim­mer­ing trade dis­pute be­tween China and the US be­cause the econ­omy is cen­tered on grow­ing the mar­ket lo­cally.

“So we’re very ro­bust. We don’t rely on ex­ports or im­ports as much as other economies. So we’re sort of in­su­lated,” Dominguez said. “But still, I’m not down­play­ing. If there is a full-blown trade war, ev­ery­body is go­ing to be af­fected.” Dominguez said the gov­ern­ment is now fo­cus­ing on the Asean mar­ket to help mit­i­gate the ef­fects of a full-blown trade war be­tween the US and China on the coun­try’s econ­omy.

“As I said, we are in­vest­ing do­mes­ti­cally. But that’s not enough. You know in any trade war, that will af­fect all the coun­tries in the world,” Dominguez said. /

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