Finance chief concerned over possible trade war between US, China
CLARK, Pampanga - Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said on Friday that the Philippines is further strengthening its economic ties with other Southeast Asian countries as he raised concern over the possible trade war between the United States and China.
In an interview with reporters here at the sidelines of the 2nd Philippine Economic Briefing, Dominguez said he was not downplaying the repercussions in the event the skirmish of the two biggest economies turn into full-blown trade war.
"If there is full-blown trade war, everybody is going to be affected," he said.
"So if our two markets get hurt, China and the US, we also get hurt. I'm really concerned...when elephants fight, the ants are the ones that suffer," he said.
He expressed hope that "cooler heads will prevail in the end."
The US and China have imposed tariffs on some of their goods as US President Donald Trump threatened to slap more tariffs on Chinese goods.
Asked of the new markets that the Philippines is looking at, Dominguez said, "ASEAN. That's why we're spending a lot of time in ASEAN."
He also said that the government is growing its market locally.
"We don't rely on exports or imports as much as other economies. So we are sort of insulated," he said.
He stressed, however, that in a trade war, nobody wins.
Dominguez also noted reports that Trump was considering that US returns to Trans-Pacific Partnership.
He said if this happens, the Philippines might also pursue joining in the economic grouping.
"Let's also see. But there's also RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership)," he said, referring to the proposed foreign trade agreement among 10 countries of the ASEAN, namely, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and Australia, China, India, Japan New Zealand and South Korea. Celerina Monte/DMS