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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Indonesia has expressed its concerns over the United States' stance against open and free trade, which gives a bleak outlook for the future of global commerce.

"At the previous G20 meeting in Hangzhou, last year, each country agreed not to apply protective policies that would create obstacles in trade and investment. This time it didn't happen," Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told reporters on Wednesday (22/03).

Sri referred to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany, on 17-18 March.

She said everyone but the US agreed that trade is important for the global economy, hence cooperation between countries is highly recommended.

US President Donald Trump is leading the world's largest market toward protectionism, as he withdrew from the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. Economists fear the move can result in retaliation from other countries and the spread of protectionism.

The US is Indonesia's biggest export destination.

The country's total non-oil and gas exports to the US, including textiles, rubber and shoes, reached $15.7 billion last year, up 2.5 percent from 2015. That was about 12 percent of the country's total non-oil and gas exports last year.

Exports to China and Japan constituted 11.5 and 10 percent respectively of the total exports during the same period.

"Indonesia is an open country and export is our source of growth," the minister said.

She added that Indonesia is keen on entering new markets, while strengthening its existing bilateral trade agreements, in order to counter any drawbacks should US double its efforts against free trade.
            [post_title] => Indonesia Concerned as US Leans Toward Protectionism
            [post_excerpt] =>  Indonesia has expressed its concerns over the United States' stance against open and free trade, which gives a bleak outlook for the future of global commerce.
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                            [caption] => President Donald Trump is leading the world's largest market toward protectionism, as he withdrew from the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. Economists fear the move can result in retaliation from other countries and the spread of protectionism. (Reuters Photo/Jonathan Ernst)
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            [post_content] => Shanghai. China is closely following US President Donald Trump's plans to create more domestic jobs by encouraging US companies to bring home or "reshore" their overseas production, but the government will not change its overall strategy, Industry Minister Miao Wei said on Friday (17/02).

"Regarding President Trump's efforts to revitalize US manufacturing and allow more US companies to move back to the United States, we are paying close attention to these policies but they will not affect the development of China's manufacturing industry," Miao said at a press briefing.

He said China would continue to encourage foreign enterprises to invest in China while at the same time encouraging domestic firms to go overseas.

"We will not change our goal of opening up to the outside world," he said.

Worried its export-dependent industries will suffer, China has repeatedly urged global leaders to reject protectionism, which Trump has championed with his "America First" campaign.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, Chinese president Xi Jinping likened protectionism to "locking oneself in a dark room" and cutting off "light and air".

China's steel sector has been under particular scrutiny, with mills subject to increasing numbers of anti-dumping moves amid accusations that they were selling at less than cost and forcing foreign competitors out of business.

Vice industry minister Xu Lejiang said at the same press briefing on Friday that China's decision to slash 65 million tonnes of steel capacity last year had already brought prices back up, with a composite index run by the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) rising 76.5 percent in 2016.

Xu said the total number of loss-making steelmakers fell 51 percent last year, while overall sector profits rose more than twofold in 2016.

China announced early last year that it would close as much as 150 million tonnes of production over the 2016-2020 period.

Reuters
            [post_title] => China Says Policies Unaffected by Trump Plan to Bring Factories Back to US
            [post_excerpt] => China is closely following US President Donald Trump's plans to create more domestic jobs by encouraging US companies to bring home or "reshore" their overseas production, but the government will not change its overall strategy, Industry Minister Miao Wei said on Friday (17/02).
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            [post_content] => Taipei. Taiwan raised its 2017 economic growth target to a three-year high on Wednesday (15/02), on expectations it will benefit from stronger global demand for tech gadgets though growing signs of United States trade protectionism remain a downside risk.

Gross domestic product was estimated to expand 1.92 percent in 2017, higher than the 1.87 percent forecast in November and 1.88 percent projected in August, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said.

Solid demand expected for Apple's new iPhone 8 and Chinese smartphone brands will bolster the island's export-driven economy, building on the strengthening momentum in the fourth quarter ahead of the festive season.

"Export momentum is expected to get a boost from the manufacturing process advantage of the local semiconductor industry, as well as increasing demand for vehicle electronics, Internet of Things and high-efficiency computing," the statistics agency said in a statement.

Taiwan's chip companies play a major role in the global manufacturing supply chain and the island's export orders rose for a fifth straight month in December.

Exports from South Korea, a close rival of Taiwan, rose in January at the fastest pace in nearly five years, preliminary data has shown.

Taiwan's statistics agency also revised up fourth quarter economic growth to 2.88 percent, its strongest pace since the first quarter of 2015. Its preliminary figure showed the economy grew 2.58 percent from a year earlier.

For 2017, exports were forecast to grow a much faster 8.5 percent, higher than the 4.95 percent anticipated in November.

"The outlook for exports is more optimistic this year, with demand from the United States and China both looking strong. The outlook for domestic consumption is relatively conservative," Chen Chin-chi said, an analyst at Cathay Financial Holdings.

"The key things to watch are the economic growth rates of the United States and China," Chen added.

Taiwan's exports are widely expected to take a hit if US President Donald Trump implements more protectionist trade and economic policies later this year.

"[...] some limiting factors for growth are the increasing competition of global industries, rising global trade protectionism, and increasing pressure from the Chinese supply chain's localization," the statistics agency said.

Imports, mainly from investments in the semiconductor sector, are forecast to grow 9.77 percent this year, versus the previous forecast of 5.79 percent.

Reuters
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