PH to call for restraint amid US-China trade tensions

The Philippines will urge the United States and China to exercise restraint and resume dialogue in order to prevent a  “trade war” between the world’s biggest economies.

Expressing concern over the worsening trade conflict between Washington and Beijing, Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana on Monday, April 9, cautioned that there would be “no winners” in a trade war.

He noted that the Philippines is among the nations that will be adversely affected by the trade dispute.

“What we don’t want to see is to be adversely affected and it is going to be a challenge because if a trade war breaks out, usually, generally speaking, there are no ways and it is hard for any winner to emerge and so we would also be affected,” Sta. Romana told reporters in a briefing.

”What we need to do is to call on restraint on the U.S. and China to go back to the negotiating table, to open talks and try to resolve through negotiations, trade talks so as to avert a trade war and so as to prevent any fallout on the Philippines,” he added.

Last week, China threatened a 25 percent tariff hike on about $50 billion of U.S. imports. In response, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed 25 percent higher tariffs on $100-billion worth of Beijing exports to Washington.

According to RHB Bank Berhad, the Philippines could be the most at risk in Southeast Asia from the escalating trade tension between the U.S. and China, as some of Manila’s shipments abroad are part of the supply chain in Beijing’s exports to Washington.

‘I need China’

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said that he “needs” China to back his administration’s programs, calling Beijing an “important ingredient” in his administration’s Build, Build, Build multi-trillion infrastructure program.

“More than anybody else at this time of our national life, I need China. I will not say something which is not good,” said in a press conference in Davao before leaving the country for China to attend the Boao Forum for Asia.

Duterte further expressed appreciation to Chinese President Xi Jinping for understanding his problems and always being willing to help.

“Anyway, I just simply love Xi Jinping. He understood, he understands my problem and he’s willing to help. And I’d like to say: Thank you, China,” he said.

Despite a maritime dispute over areas of the South China Sea, Duterte also described the relations between the Philippines and China “like a flower that would bloom into something big and beautiful.”

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