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The US elections – implications for PH

AFTER Mexico, Asia would be most at risk in case of a Trump presidency, according to an investor survey conducted by Nomura Holdings of Japan. And the most vulnerable in Asia would be South Korea, and the Philippines, the report said.

The reference to Mexico being most at risk in case Donald Trump is elected president of the United States has to do with the Republican presidential candidate’s threat to erect a wall along the border between the two countries to keep out, he said, many Mexicans who are gangsters, drug addicts, and rapists. He said he would build the wall and charge Mexico for it, but some believe this is just political rhetoric that seems to appeal to many American voters who feel threatened by immigrants from South and Central America.

The threat to Asia arises from Trump’s repeated vow to set up trade barriers to protect American industries and keep them at home so as to provide employment for Americans. Most vulnerable in Asia are South Korea and the Philippines. Trump has criticized a 2012 trade agreement with Korea which, he said, destroyed 100,000 American jobs. He has also threatened to force that country to meet the full cost of security guarantees now provided by the US.

The threat to the Philippines lies in Trump’s pledge to bring back American jobs, which would threaten the Philippines’ fast-growing business process outsourcing industry which now caters mostly to American companies. Most of the Philippines’ overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) – 35 percent – are also in the US and the money they send home make up 31 percent of total remittances, a principal source of the country’s foreign exchange.

Republican candidate Trump is facing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the November elections and while polls place him behind Clinton, his candidacy has caused worries around the world, including America’s allies in Europe. He has threatened to make Europe pay for its own defense, turning his back on the decades-long commitment of the US that it would defend its European allies against threats from communist and now Islamist attacks.

As may be expected, America’s Latino, Asian, and black population have tended to support the Democratic candidate while Trump, appears to have strong following among male white voters. Nothing is certain, however, about the coming November elections.

We can only watch and wait with some concern as the presidential campaign continues in the US with which we have a long history of involvement and close government-to-government as well as people-to-people ties.