Asian nations want predictability and stability in their relationships with America. (Peter) Navarro (director of the US National Trade Council) especially is one who causes unease throughout the region — he has not visited mainland China in more than a decade and does not speak Mandarin. His criticisms about China keeping its currency artificially low and stealing American manufacturing jobs in light industry is outdated. If anything China is blocking capital outflows, raising interest rates in order to strengthen its currency, the Yuan. South-East Asian nations now are exporting to China as that economy transitions to one based on consumption.
The reality is most low-end manufacturing has already moved out of China to countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Officials in those nations are worried that Navarro will convince Trump to turn criticisms to them once he is done criticising China
Going forward, Trump needs to show nations in Asia that America is ready to continue to be a long-term predictable partner that will support them in times of danger. By 2050, China's and India's economies most likely will have surpassed America's. Smaller nations are deciding now whether to align with China or the United States. Trump can no longer stay silent on his intentions in the region.More in IBT
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