THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

The whole world is anticipating what US President-elect Donald Trump will do once in official power come January next year. According to a Chinese think tank, the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, Trump "will continue pursuing regional hegemony." Even if its traditional ally such as the Philippines would "break away," as President Duterte put it, from the US, it will continue its freedom of navigation and overflights in the region, challenging China's claim over the whole region.

Republicans traditionally increase the military's budget. Trump will be no exception, as he has frequently hit China over his perception of unfair trade practices during his campaign. At the recent APEC summit, countries seem to be realigning with China as they foresee a void brought about by Trump's promise "making America great again." Trump has promised to bring back jobs and businesses back to the US.

The Bangko Sentral has recently come up with its latest business expectation survey, stating that the country's overall confidence index in the fourth quarter has declined to its lowest level in two years. The reasons given were the uncertainty of the government's foreign policy shift and the strengthening US dollar. While some say that the government's shift to China and Russia benefits the country, that is yet to be seen. Russia for example has more to sell to the country than the other way around. Russia can sell weapons and oil to the country at a much lower price than the US. But with its own economy slowing down, Russia would probably want to sell more of its products than buy. So the friendlier relationship of both countries may eventually benefit them more. Furthermore, several businesses have already reported cancelled orders since Duterte started attacking the US. How this plays out as time goes by only adds to the uncertainty.

If relations between the US and China would go south during Trump's administration how would this affect the country? I for one welcome America's continued presence in the South China Sea, despite Duterte's veering away from the US. There should be a balance of power in the region, something several allies such as Japan and Australia also believe in. If the business sector is not sure about the government's foreign policy shift, then this may be a good reason why. It seems that the new year will bring about a lot of change. Whether it is good for the country or not is still anyone's guess, hence the uncertainty.


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