Dominguez: PH closely watching US-China feud

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. (PR)