Donald Trump inauguration

Asia Pacific business leaders ‘concerned’ about Trump presidency, survey finds

Respondents predict trade and tariff frictions, market instability, and economic slowdown in the region

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 January, 2017, 2:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 January, 2017, 5:34pm

Asia Pacific business leaders feel the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency could be negative for the region in the long run although they have yet to feel the effect on their businesses, recent research done by Harvey Nash has found.

A nervous world watched as Trump took the oath of office and gave his inaugural address in Washington on Friday US time, with business leaders in the Asia Pacific region most worried about trade and tariff frictions and market instability, according to the survey, which was conducted between late November and December.

The “Trump Effect on Asia” survey, which polled 141 APAC business leaders, found that the majority “expressed concern about the lasting impact of a Trump presidency”, Harvey Nash said.

Specifically, 29 per cent of respondents expect Trump will have a long-term negative impact on APAC business profits, 19 per cent are assessing their existing trade deals with the US, and 7 per cent have cut budgets as a result of Trump’s victory.

“The US will be more inward looking. China will carry on with its global expansion plan. Asean will be split between the major powers and self-interest,” one of the respondent’s comment was cited as saying in the survey release.

Those in the [Asia Pacific] region must now look at how to steady the ship and put in place plans to deal with these anticipated changes
Nick Marsh, Harvey Nash Executive Search APAC

Up to 65 per cent of the respondents had no plan in place for a Trump victory, 19 per cent had prepared a business contingency plan, and only 9 per cent were fully prepared, with both a response and plans to deal with the outcome, the survey found.

Meanwhile, 59 per cent of respondents believe that trade and tariff negotiations will be affected by the Trump presidency, 49 per cent foresee market instability, and 30 per cent anticipate an economic slowdown in the region.

At the time of the survey, 71 per cent of respondents believed Trump’s victory had not yet affected their business, 15 per cent reported a negative impact, while 8 per cent said it had a positive impact on business.

“Trump’s victory came as a surprise... Those in the region must now look at how to steady the ship and put in place plans to deal with these anticipated changes,” said Nick Marsh, managing director, Harvey Nash Executive Search APAC.

Also, 36 per cent of respondents believe there will now be an increased focus on local leadership in APAC, while 35 per cent foresee Asian nationals returning in greater numbers from the US, and 24 per cent expect to see a slowdown in talent migration.