Taiwan's business leaders said on Sunday that if Donald Trump is elected U.S. president on Nov. 8, export-oriented Taiwan could be impacted by his anti-China stance.
The polls have shown that Republican Party candidate Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are in a very tight race.
Lin Bo-feng (???), head of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, said that Taiwan and its relations with the three economic powerhouses of the United States, Japan and China will be directly impacted.
In contrast with Trump's China bashing rhetoric, Clinton has not been as antagonistic to Beijing, Lin said. If Trump is elected and economic relations between the United States and China turn bad, it would have a knock-on effect on Taiwan.
Tsai Lien-sheng(???), secretary general of the Chinese National Federation of Industries, said that the federation thinks Clinton will be more predicable in her approach if elected.
In contrast, Trump is a political novice and is more difficult to predict. If a U.S. leader is unpredictable, it could easily impact the global economy or even politics, Tsai said.
Tsai also said that Trump is more protectionist and has questioned whether China's economic development will affect U.S. jobs. If he is elected, U.S.-China ties could deteriorate.
Trump was recently reported as saying that Mexico, Malaysia, China, South Korea and Taiwan were taking jobs from the United States.
As mainland China is Taiwan's largest manufacturing base and the U.S. is the largest market for Taiwanese products, a downturn in U.S. -China relations could hurt Taiwan, Tsai opined.
On the impact of the U.S. election on Taiwan's bid to join the U.S-initiated Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade bloc, Lin said that "Taiwan should make a serious effort, but it will be very, very difficult for it to join."
KamhonKan (???), head of the of the Institute of Economics at Academia Sinica, Taiwan's highest research institute, said that if Clinton is elected, the status quo will continue, but if Trump wins, the U.S. could postpone interest rate hikes and Taiwan's currency policy might be criticized more by the United States.
Kan said that if Clinton is elected, she will continue President Barack Obama's current policy and that would have minimal impact on the overall economy.
He also added that the economic benefits of the TPP to Taiwan will not be seen in the short-term, but would still be favorable in the long-term to export-oriented Taiwan.
Kelvin Tay (???), regional chief investment officer, Southern APAC at UBS, said the Asia capital market could benefit moderately if Clinton is elected and the Republican and Democratic parties are more evenly matched in the U.S. Congress.
In such a scenario, the current situation would be maintained, uncertainty mitigated and existing trade agreements honored, Tay added.
However, if Trump is elected, the outlook will be bleak, Kan said.
If Clinton is elected, Asia will immediately become the focus of attention, because there could be an immediate drop in the capital market in Asia except for Japanese yen, Tay said.
Australian, New Zealand dollars and Korean won, which are highly volatile currencies as well as the currencies of such export-oriented countries as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, would all be impacted, he added.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel