Trade War and its impact on ASEAN


DATE: 14 August 2018, Tuesday

TIME: 9:30am – 12:00pm

VENUE: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

TOPIC: Trade War and its impact on ASEAN

The trade wars between two of the world’s largest economies the United States and China went into high gear with President Donald Trump’s issuing a list of 10 percent tariff on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods on 10 July 20181. This is in addition to an earlier announcement of 25 percent tariff on US$50 billion worth of Chinese goods into the US, out of which US$34 billion worth of Chinese goods were affected on 6 July 20182. Also on 1 June 2018, the United States imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imported into the country from the European Union (EU), Canada and Mexico after the G7 Summit in Canada. That move triggered Canada to announce measures to apply equivalent tariffs on the United States.

Economists have argued that protectionist trade policies will result in adverse impact on world trade and hurt the most economically vulnerable communities.

Credit ratings agency Moody’s has identified trade war as a global risk this year3. Whereas according to the World Bank, a trade war between the U.S. and China will create complications for trade in the ASEAN region. Two-thirds of the products that the US was targeting with additional tariffs are connected to a value chain that stretches across ASEAN countries namely the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. For instance, products such as electrical equipments and machinery, though assembled in China, use materials from several countries in ASEAN4.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the escalating trade feud between the United States and the rest of the world could the cost the global economy US$430 billion, with the latter more vulnerable to a rising tariff war. The IMF also estimates that the global economy will be 0.5% smaller by 2020 if the various tariffs threatened by the US, China, Europe, Mexico, Japan and Canada are all applied5.

This roundtable will discuss the risks and opportunities presented by the on-going trade tensions between US and the world. How should ASEAN best respond to the developing trade war? What are the immediate concerns of business operating in ASEAN? What does trade war mean for ASEAN community and integration?


​​Dr. Donald Hanna Group Chief Economist, CIMB Group

Dr. Donald Hanna has an insightful blend of both global perspective and local ASEAN experience in analyzing global macroeconomic and policy developments, having done his first work on ASEAN while still in graduate school. He began his professional career with the World Bank working in Washington DC and Jakarta, Indonesia. He has managed macroeconomic teams for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, ending his stint with Citi as their Deputy Chief Economist. In addition to sell-side experience, Dr. Hanna has worked on the buy-side providing macro and market views to risk takers at two hedge funds. He has also set up and managed an independent, Asian-focused macro research office.

Dr. Hanna is a Fulbright Scholar, and has a PhD in Economics from Harvard University and a BA, summa cum laude, in Economics and Spanish from the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis at Australia National University and the Asian Development Bank’s International Advisory Group. He is fluent in both Spanish and Bahasa Indonesia.

​​Prof. Dr. Sufian JusohSenior Fellow, CIMB ASEAN Research Institute

Prof. Dr. Sufian Jusoh is the Deputy Director and Professor of International Trade and Investment at the Institute of Malaysia and International Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Dr. Sufian is the Chairs of the ASEAN Integration Grand Challenge for Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Dr. Sufian is also an External Fellow of the World Trade Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland and a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. Dr. Sufian is now an International Investment Law Expert at the World Bank Group. Dr. Sufian is the Co-Founder of the ASEAN Economic Integration Forum and a Member of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council Malaysian Chapter. Dr. Sufian also plays a key role in the reform of the investment laws in Myanmar, Timor Leste, Laos and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Dr. Sufian is a Barrister-at-Law (England and Wales) of Lincoln’s Inn, London. Sufian holds an LL.B from Cardiff Law School, an LL.M (Merit), University College London and a Doctor in Law (summa Cum Laude) from University of Bern, Switzerland.

​​Datuk Muhamad Noor Yacob Board Member, Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) Former Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Malaysia to World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Datuk Muhamad Noor Yacob is the Board Member of Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) and former Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Malaysia to World Trade Organisation (WTO). He started his career in Malaysia’s Public Service at the Ministry of Plantation Industry and Commodities in 1974. During this stint, including as the Trade Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Muhamad Noor represented Malaysia extensively in international trade fora, including ASEAN, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and various international commodity organisations. He was Malaysia’s Permanent Representative to WTO in Switzerland from 2003 until 2009. He was appointed in October 2003 and was elected Chair of the following WTO bodies – General Council (2007), Dispute Settlement Body (2006), and Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation (2004 – 2005). He graduated with honours in economics from the University of Malaya in 1974. Muhamad Noor also holds a Master of Public Policy at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, which he obtained in 1982 and attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2002.

​​Roberto BenetelloChief Executive Officer (CEO), European Union (EU) – Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Over 20 years of experience in international relations and business facilitation, general management, marketing and business development in various sectors, Benetello’s work experience ranges from providing consultancy in strategic business planning, marketing, international business development and start-ups to online strategy and event planning.

Benetello started his career with EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EUMCCI) in April 2016 when he joined the Board of the Chamber and was later appointed the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

The valuable contributions he made during his chairmanship prompted the Chamber to appoint him as EUMCCI’s first CEO to further leverage on his capability and expertise in operations.

Benetello holds a Masters Degree in Marketing from Lincoln University, UK and an a Master in Business Administration from SDA Bocconi School of Management, Bocconi University, Italy.

Benetello’s vision is to make EUMCCI the go-to platform for members, other EU Bilateral Chambers and the EU business community in Malaysia, where to aggregate business critical issues into recommendations for relevant stakeholders to make Malaysia a friendly business environment for EU companies and investors to the benefit of all parties involved.”

​​Siobhan M. Das Executive Director, American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM)

Siobhan Das is the Executive Director of the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM). Assuming the positon in January 2016, Siobhan has overseen the revitalization of the Chamber, making it one of the most active and effective AmChams in the region. She reached this achievement by strengthening the Chamber’s presence from within, driving stronger engagement with its members and developing a powerful voice for its various business communities. By leading targeted, well designed, and sustained engagement with key stakeholders, including U.S. and Malaysian government officials, Siobhan has effected policy changes that benefit not only AMCHAM stakeholders, but other companies, contributing to a more open and fair business climate.

She returned to Malaysia after almost 12 years in China, five of which she served as Director of Committees (Industry) at the largest American Chamber of Commerce in the Asia Pacific – Shanghai. There she directed and shaped the role of 26 Committees filled with volunteering senior executives, leading them to advocate successfully on behalf of the U.S. business communities they represent and address issues impacting day-to-day business.

Prior to moving into the non-profit sector, Siobhan spent more than 20 years in the film and television industry across Asia and the U.S., including owning her own production & corporate communications company in Kuala Lumpur. She holds two degrees from Boston University and, more recently, she was a Sloan Fellow at the London Business School where she earned her Master’s in Leadership and Strategy.


​​Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid Chairman, CIMB ASEAN Research Institute President, ASEAN Business Club

Tan Sri Dr. Munir is currently Chairman of CIMB ASEAN Research Institute, of Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad, of the Financial Services Professional Board, of ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Malaysia, as well as President of the ASEAN Business Club. He also sits on the board of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia and on the Financial Services Talent Council of Bank Negara Malaysia.

He has an extensive experience and is well known in the Malaysian corporate world. He had been the Group Editor of the New Straits Times, first executive chairman of CIMB and founding chairman of the Malaysian Securities Commission. After stepping down from the Securities Commission, he became Independent Non-Executive Director of Telekom Malaysia Berhad, Chairman of Celcom (Malaysia) Berhad and Non-Executive Chairman of Malaysian Airline System Berhad. He was Founder President of the Kuala Lumpur Business Club, established in 2003 and is a member of the Court of Fellows of the Malaysian Institute of Management.

Tan Sri Dr. Munir obtained a B.Sc (Econ) and Ph.D in International Relations from the London School of Economic and Political Science (LSE) in 1971 and 1978. He is an Honorary Fellow of LSE and continues the long association with his alma mater as Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre of International Affairs, Diplomacy and Strategy. Tan Sri Dr. Munir is an associate of Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC) at LSE.

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