PH should be ready for global trade war

A global trade war could provide some upsides for the Philippines but the country will still need to prepare for the fallout, a government official said.

Last weekend’s acrimonious end to the G7 summit, Exports Marketing Bureau director Senen Perlada told reporters on Monday, underscored the widening differences between the US and its traditional allies.

US President Donald Trump upended the meeting of the world’s biggest economies by refusing to endorse a joint communique, raising concerns that a tit-for-tat tariff exchange would excalate.

“What happened in Quebec is something that we really have to digest further but in terms of the personalities involved, there’s really a divergence of the way the US now approaches global trade,” Perlada said.

“What happened in Quebec really shows the ethnocentricity of the current [US] leadership in terms of considering the US market as superior to all others,” he added.

Perlada said the Philippines would have to see how the dispute plays out.

“[W]e’re kind of interested to look at [it]and see what’s gonna to happen. We’re not quite a big player so we really
just have to prepare either way what happens,” he added.|

As far as the Trade department is concerned, he said it still “believes in globalization and the opportunities that it presents in the Philippines.”

“In the case of the US market we still have US GSP (Generalized System of Preferences). So that’s covered by law. So we still have that window where a lot of products from the Philippines could still enter the us market duty free on a preferential basis,” he noted.

The US’ imposition of higher steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union, meanwhile, could turn out to be beneficial.

“We feel that there really is an upside for the Philippines because of our ‘Build Build Build’ [infrastructure program],” Perlada said, as manufacturers seek alternative markets for their products.

He stressed, however, that a trade war was not in the best interest of anybody.

“Nobody benefits from a trade war. I think history would tell us that it doesn’t work when countries start to go away from globalization,” Perlada said.

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