ASIA PACIFIC RISK WATCH – ISSUE 9 – SEPTEMBER 2016

Turning inward? The US presidential election and the death of free trade


30 September 2016

A US election fought under moderately favourable economic conditions, with a Republican electorate divided and openly unhappy with its standard-bearer, should normally seal the presidency for the Democrat, in this case former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Yet this is anything but a ‘normal’ political cycle in the US.

Control Risks believes Clinton will be the next US president, the first female ever to serve in that position. But a number of other eye-widening firsts in this presidential contest obligates us to take very seriously the possibility that her Republican rival, Donald Trump, can overcome his disadvantages and wind up in the White House.

In a recent series of articles on the US elections, Control Risks' chief US political risks analyst, Michael Moran, looks at both scenarios - a Clinton presidency and a Trump presidency.

Whatever the outcome of the election, President Barack Obama's departure in early 2017 will present renewed challenges for Asia Pacific trade. While the much-awaited Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is still expected to pass, strong public support for increased protectionism, and the general rhetoric coming out of the US presidential campaign, hints at broader trade and currency risks for Asia Pacific, in particular for those companies reliant on global supply chains for manufacturing. Michael Moran reviews whether the tides have turned against free trade.