South Asia needs to craft new trade strategies: Iftikhar

Salim Ahmed

Lahore

SAARC CCI Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik Wednesday said in the prevailing global economic scenario, it is need of the hour that SAARC member states should craft new self-regulating trade strategies to withstand the shocks in wake of trade war ensued between the United States and China that could badly hit the development growth in the region.
Talking to a delegation of traders from Nepal led by Rajendra Dev Acharya, here today , he said the brewing trade war between the US and China has raised concerns about potential fallout for South Asian and East Asia’s economies, many of which count China as their main trading partner. “This kind of practice or policy, which is bad for both sides, is not going to serve their interests, or the world economy,” adding he said the US and China should seek a resolution to their trade disputes through the World Trade Organization.
“Harmful restrictions could follow with regard to flows of people, investment, aid and information. Cooperation on international rules and institutions could be set back. Such a scenario must not be allowed to unfold,” he added. He said South Asia is expected to grow to 7% in 2018 and 7.2% in 2019 after two years of decline. He said the region could withstand most shocks from U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies, but the growing trade frictions between the world’s two biggest economies could dampen Asia’s growth prospects.
He said a trade war could also damage Beijing’s aspirations of doubling gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020 compared to 2010 levels, since any fall in U.S. exports could weigh on China’s economic growth and if this trade escalates further, it would be hard to become Asia the largest economy in the world by 2050 as predicted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), a multinational professional services network headquartered in London and considered among the ‘Big Four’ auditors.

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