14/11/2018 03:48 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 (Bernama) -- Regional policy experts see increased protectionism and trade wars as the top risks to growth in the Asia-Pacific, says the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).

The findings were presented in PECC’s 13th Annual State of the Region Report for 2018-19 released today based on a survey of 529 regional policy experts was conducted on key developments and challenges faced by the region.

The PECC said 62.1 per cent of respondents cited increased protectionism and trade wars as top risks to Asia-Pacific’s growth moving forward.

“This was followed by possible slowdowns in world trade growth (43.9 per cent) and China’s economy (43.3 per cent). The other top risks were lack of political leadership (36.1 per cent) and corruption (32.7 per cent),” it said in a statement.

The survey also found that 42.7 per cent of respondents expect that economic growth in China to be weaker in 2019, but India (42.3 per cent) and Southeast Asia (49.1 per cent) are expected to have stronger economic growth.

PECC Secretary-General Eduardo Pedrosa said while protectionism was clearly on the rise, it was slightly reassuring there were liberalising measures undertaken by Asia-Pacific economies.

“These include the conclusion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the ongoing negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which can provide a critical amount of policy certainty that will encourage business investment,” he said.

This year’s report also studied the impact that technological advancement on Asia-Pacific workforce, with 55 and 54 per cent of Southeast and Northeast Asia, respectively, expecting more job losses than gains by 2030.

“Occupations with lower skills requirement are likely to be impacted the most with 64.1 per cent expecting a decrease in the number of clerical support workers by 2030, followed by 59.1 per cent for plant and machine operators; 58 per cent for labourers in mining, construction, manufacturing and transport; and 56.5 per cent for personal services and sales roles.

“With a reduction in jobs, around half of the respondents expect surpluses of workers in these same professions in Asia-Pacific by 2030,” the report stated.

Pedrosa said the report found that how well economies adjust to technological change would depend on its capacity to match the skills on offer by all available workers with the skills required.

“Technological advancement is also expected to create significant occupational and structural change by increasing the quality of workforces while decreasing the quantity required.

“It is important for policy makers to understand the impact of technology on the nature of work and how to enable smooth, seamless transitions,” he added.


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