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The world waits with bated breath for White House’s next move
Rohit Chandavarkar | Saturday, 18 February 2017 AT 11:34 AM IST
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The press conference by American President Donald Trump on Thursday has created waves not just in the media world but in all other spheres. Trump made comments against the media during the conference and some journalists ended up shouting back at him. Perhaps this was the first-ever media conference at the White House where the President got heckled by a section of the media.

Trump seems to be taking on almost every segment of society besides various countries through his blunt comments. This is going to prove not only damaging for Trump’s image but also to the United States in general. Already, some global research groups are working on studying how the new administration will impact the various businesses.

Trump has said he will soon come up with a new travel advisory and changes in rules. Now everybody wonders what that is going to be and how it will affect them.

In India, there are major concerns about how the information technology sector would be affected because of the new visa regime being introduced. In China, there are concerns about how the protectionist policy of the United States would affect the manufacturing sector there. In other parts of the world too, there is a complete lack of clarity about what will happen next!

According to news agencies, Singapore’s trade-driven economy rose faster than thought in 2016 but concerns over a ‘lack of clarity’ on US President Donald Trump’s policies could hit growth this year, the government said on Friday. The economy expanded 2 per cent in 2016, powered by a strong manufacturing sector performance in the fourth quarter, final data from the trade ministry showed.

The figures are an improvement on the 1.8 per cent expansion recorded in an advance estimate released last month, with growth next year forecast between 1-3 per cent. But the ministry warned that rising protectionism in the West will hurt global growth while the results of upcoming elections in Europe could threaten the future of the Eurozone at a time when Britain is on its way to exiting the European Union. “If protectionist approaches become the norm, global trade will be adversely affected, with knock-on effects on economic growth worldwide,” the ministry said.

“Political risks and the lack of clarity on the policies of the new US administration have also heightened economic uncertainties globally and led to financial market volatility,” it added. “These uncertainties may in turn weigh on business and consumer confidence, thereby dampening investments and consumption, and causing a pullback in global growth.” Asia’s export-driven economies are increasingly concerned about growing anti-globalisation sentiment in the West, where globalisation and free-trade deals have been blamed for sending jobs abroad and opening the floodgates to immigrants.

According to various reports coming from news agencies and global media, President Trump last month pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a major trade deal involving a dozen nations, including Singapore, which contains market-opening provisions that go well beyond cutting tariffs. The island state is one of Asia’s wealthiest countries, but two thirds of its GDP is derived from external demand, making it vulnerable to developments outside the country. Trump has vowed to pursue an ‘America first’ policy, claiming that his country has been on the losing end of free-trade deals it had signed. Trump has also said he will renegotiate other free-trade arrangements involving the US.

The overall scenario seems to be grim and the one thing that investors and business leaders always fear seems to be very much on the block and that’s uncertainty. It’s over policy, over financial security and changing rules. The world now waits with bated breath to see what comes next from the White House.

- ROHIT CHANDAVARKAR
 
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