Manila, Philippines – THE Philippines could be the most at risk in Southeast Asia from the worsening trade conflict between China and the United States.
About 16.9 percent of the Philippines’s shipments abroad are part of China’s value chain; goods that serve as inputs to China’s exports, RHB Bank Bhd. said. That compares with 11.4 percent for Malaysia and just 2.2 percent for Vietnam.
US President Donald J. Trump on Thursday ordered his administration to consider imposing tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese imports, dashing optimism that trade tensions could ease. Policy-makers across Southeast Asia are focusing on bolstering domestic markets to cushion the fallout should the situation worsen.
The sectors likely to be hit badly are electronics, electrical machinery such as computers, and industrial goods, RHB said in a note on Wednesday before the announcement of possible new US tariffs.
China is the biggest trading partner for many Southeast Asian economies and an important source of investment and tourism in the region. While large domestic markets in Indonesia and the Philippines help to shelter those economies from a trade war, others in the region, like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, are more reliant on exports.