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Small countries suffer when behemoths collide

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OPIN​ION: Discussions at any recent business networking event have inevitably veered towards the China-United States trade spat that has been going on since 2017.

After the Asian financial crisis in late 1990s and the global financial crisis of 10 years ago, the China-US current trade battles have to be one of the more significant economic disruptions (or even crises) in the last decade.

It reminds us how far China has come to be on the same playing field as the US in a lot of dimensions.

But it also says that countries, in particular smaller ones, tend to pay the price when behemoths collide.

No doubt there will be opportunities for increased trade with both China and the US as they distance themselves from each other in some industries.

But the spillover effect is far greater and faster due to their key roles in the global economic stage.

US farmers took an economic hit and the US had to provide US$12 billion (NZ$17.7b) in emergency relief to help them ride it out.

While it was labelled as aid, some may argue that the problem was caused by the US government in the first place. Needless to say, farmers are calling for the trade battles to stop.

Businesses need markets, and if there is a market for your product, aid is not necessary.

China has not been left unscathed either.

Reports suggest that employment and manufacturing in China are unlikely to be affected by the current situation. . . .