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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Saturday, April 21, 2018

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How will Trump’s presidency impact the relationship between two of the world’s biggest economies?

confrontation between China and the U.S

Share on Facebook November 29, 2016, Reporter : Big News Network, Reader : 590

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - Donald Trump is set to be the next president of the United States and all eyes are on how the relationship between the world's two superpowers will play out, since a trade confrontation between China and the U.S. would ripple across the globe.

The Republican's anti China-rhetoric may have succeeded in getting him to the White House, it won’t, however, be that easy to actually execute in the face of the complexity of the China-U.S. economic relationship.

On the campaign trail, Trump trumpeted his intention to designate China as a currency manipulator on the first day of his presidency. But post-election, there has been, so far, no mention that will happen on Day One or at all.

In particular, American multinational corporations have more than $228 billion in China investments at stake in the event of a trade conflict between the world’s two biggest economies. 

Their track record of pushing back against Washington on trade indicates they’ll back their own interests - and thus China - if enmity erupts.

Beijing, on its part, has this message - Any move to tax Chinese imports would bring retaliation: The U.S. economy would take a hit and America would damage its longstanding ties with Asia.

Trump and Apple

Trump had promised to force Apple to build their computers and iPhones in the United States, instead of China.

Against the outsourcing of manufacturing to China, Trump believes that by forcing a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods, the U.S. would then become an attractive place for Apple to manufacture their own devices.

This plan could badly hit Apple, which would stand to lose millions in China, alone, a country which has an estimated 131 million iPhone users, unless the company moves to another country which is cheaper, and not the United States.

"Trump will not back down on America’s military presence in South China Sea"

Experts warn Donald Trump is unlikely to reduce U.S. military presence in the disputed region of the South China Sea.

According to academics of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies think tank, there will not be a reversal in the Asia-Pacific policy, but the strategic rivalry between China and the U.S. is likely to continue over the South China Sea.

The report, said that there will be no shift in U.S. position regarding freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and making sure “absolute control” over the disputed waters was the core of U.S. military strategy in the Asia-Pacific.

Trump has not spoken much on his policy on the South China Sea, from where about $5 trillion worth of maritime trade sails through every year. 

"Climate change not a Chinese hoax"

Donald Trump has claimed climate change is not real – views that have raised concerns among environmentalists.

In 2012, he tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

Now, Beijing had made it clear climate change is not a hoax perpetrated by China.

“If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the IPCC with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s,” China's vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin said, according to Bloomberg.

There are worries that the U.S. may seek to pull out of the Paris climate change deal only two months after President Barack Obama and Xi Jinping, his Chinese counterpart, agreed to sign up for it at a historic ceremony in Beijing.

Trump’s trinkets meanwhile…

According to reports, Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” Christmas ornaments may have been manufactured in China.

The product is a red ball cap ornament with the words “Make America Great Again.” 

There is no mention of the country where the products were made. However, speculations were rife that the products were made in China, since most holiday decorations sold in the United States are manufactured there.

There are no photographs or labels on where the ornaments were made.

And if indeed they were made there, Trump is taking jobs to China, not to the U.S.

Once again…a conflict of interest?

Lawyers argue the president-elect’s business ties with organisations including the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China could breach the U.S. Constitution.

The bank, a state-controlled enterprise and the world’s largest lender by assets, is due to renegotiate its lease at Trump Tower in Manhattan during Donald Trump’s presidency.

The renewal of the lease adds to the list of potential conflicts of interest for the business tycoon-turned-politician.

The relationship between Trump and ICBC is one of the clearest financial connections between the president-elect and a foreign government and it highlights the potential conflicts of interest that could spring from his sprawling business empire.

Trump, China and the Philippines

Although Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has been significantly more conciliatory towards Trump than towards his predecessor Obama, many feel tensions will continue to exist between the two countries.

Philippine economists and policymakers fear that Trump’s trade and immigration policies could seriously weaken the Philippine economy. 

Trump’s transactional approach to U.S. security partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region and confrontational approach towards China could also dash hopes for a revived U.S.-Philippines security partnership.

However, a compelling set of security guarantees from Trump with regard to the South China Sea dispute could cause the Philippines to scale back its pivot towards China. 

Meanwhile, Vietnam has thus far remained friends with both the U.S. and China. And as it works to balance relations with these two nations, Hanoi is hoping the ASEAN will play an important role in any further disputes in the South China Sea and provide some balance to any instability.

China warns Australia

During an annual dialogue between China and Australia, the talks were dominated by a discussion on implications of Trump’s victory.

China warned Australia to not side with Washington in an event where U.S. takes a stand against China. 

Chinese officials told the Australian delegation to not allow U.S.-China disputes to transform into China-Australia spats as well. 

Additionally, China’s officials implored Australians to consider them as ‘Business Partners’ in course of the discussions.

In no uncertain terms, it was made clear that Australia needs to account for China’s interests while building the U.S.-Australia equation. 

The day-long talks between the two countries also discussed the impact of the U.S. backing out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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