SINGAPORE (Apr 23): Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating was fond of quoting the Arabic proverb, “The dogs bark but the carav­an moves on.” The idea is that some events are unstoppable despite the loud noise generated at any given time.

The growth of China and its inevitable move towards participation in the global political economy in a way that is commensurate with its economic strength is the caravan in this situation. The trade war rhetoric coming out of the US is a little like the barking dogs because the Chinese caravan continues to move along.

There is no doubt that the US-led trade war will inflict casualties and collateral damage. Investors will need to carefully assess where this damage will fall and adjust investment exposure accordingly. While President Donald Trump talks about protecting US industry, he seems not to understand that China is the largest market for many of the US’ largest industries. General Motors and Apple, among many others, generate the majority of their sales in China.

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