Ex­perts see pro­tec­tion­ism, trade wars as top re­gional growth risks

The Borneo Post - - BUSINESS -

KUALA LUMPUR: Re­gional pol­icy ex­perts see in­creased pro­tec­tion­ism and trade wars as the top risks to growth in the Asi­aPa­cific, says the Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (PECC).

The find­ings were pre­sented in PECC’s 13th An­nual State of the Re­gion Re­port for 2018 to 2019 re­leased yes­ter­day based on a sur­vey of 529 re­gional pol­icy ex­perts was con­ducted on key de­vel­op­ments and chal­lenges faced by the re­gion.

The PECC said 62.1 per cent of re­spon­dents cited in­creased pro­tec­tion­ism and trade wars as top risks to Asia-Pa­cific’s growth mov­ing for­ward.

“This was fol­lowed by pos­si­ble slow­downs in world trade growth (43.9 per cent) and China’s econ­omy (43.3 per cent). The other top risks were lack of po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship (36.1 per cent) and cor­rup­tion (32.7 per cent),” it said in a state­ment.

The sur­vey also found that 42.7 per cent of re­spon­dents ex­pect that eco­nomic growth in China to be weaker in 2019, but In­dia (42.3 per cent) and South­east Asia (49.1 per cent) are ex­pected to have stronger eco­nomic growth.

PECC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Edu- ardo Pe­drosa said while pro­tec­tion­ism was clearly on the rise, it was slightly re­as­sur­ing there were lib­er­al­is­ing mea­sures un­der­taken by Asia-Pa­cific economies.

“These in­clude the con­clu­sion of the Com­pre­hen­sive and Pro­gres­sive Agree­ment for Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship and the on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions on the Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship, which can pro­vide a crit­i­cal amount of pol­icy cer­tainty that will en­cour­age busi­ness in­vest­ment,” he said.

This year’s re­port also stud­ied the im­pact that tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment on Asia- Pa­cific work­force, with 55 and 54 per cent of South­east and North­east Asia, re­spec­tively, ex­pect­ing more job losses than gains by 2030.

“Oc­cu­pa­tions with lower skills re­quire­ment are likely to be impacted the most with 64.1 per cent ex­pect­ing a de­crease in the num­ber of cler­i­cal sup­port work­ers by 2030, fol­lowed by 59.1 per cent for plant and ma­chine op­er­a­tors; 58 per cent for labour­ers in min­ing, con­struc­tion, man­u­fac­tur­ing and trans­port; and 56.5 per cent for per­sonal ser­vices and sales roles.

“With a re­duc­tion in jobs, around half of the re­spon­dents ex­pect sur­pluses of work­ers in these same pro­fes­sions in Asia-Pa­cific by 2030,” the re­port stated.

Pe­drosa said the re­port found that how well economies ad­just to tech­no­log­i­cal change would de­pend on its ca­pac­ity to match the skills on of­fer by all avail­able work­ers with the skills re­quired.

“Tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment is also ex­pected to cre­ate sig­nif­i­cant oc­cu­pa­tional and struc­tural change by in­creas­ing the qual­ity of work­forces while de­creas­ing the quan­tity re­quired.

“It is im­por­tant for pol­icy mak­ers to un­der­stand the im­pact of tech­nol­ogy on the na­ture of work and how to en­able smooth, seam­less tran­si­tions,” he added. — Ber­nama

A worker is seen at the Yang­shan Deep Wa­ter Port, part of the Shang­hai Free Trade Zone, in Shang­hai, China. Re­gional pol­icy ex­perts see in­creased pro­tec­tion­ism and trade wars as the top risks to growth in the Asia-Pa­cific. — Reuters photo

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