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>> US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touched down in Singapore on Friday to press the flesh at this year's ASEAN Foreign Ministers Summit. He's bringing along a big pitch for US investment across what's now being called the Indo-Pacific. But as Reuters' John Geddie reports, ASEAN countries are less worried about investment, and more concerned about America's quickly escalating trade conflict with China.
>> Mike Pompeo is coming with a message, a recently announce message to Indo-Pacific to emerging Asia as it were, that they are back in the game. The question really is, how will it be received given at the same time the US is ramping up to rhetoric with China over this trade dispute.
>> ASEAN's traditionally been a forum focused on economic growth and security for Asia's young economies. On Thursday, Reuters reported that a code of conduct for the South China sea between Asian nations and China could well become a reality at the end of the summit. But any games on those fronts could well be overshadowed by the economic impact of increase trade tariffs.
>> Singapore's biggest bank DBS has said that if there is a full blown trade war, then we could see Singapore's growth more than half next year. That's the level of impact this could cause to this region. Many of the countries here in ASEAN form part of the supply chain into China, so any tariffs of any escalation that may form a trade war between the two big superpowers of the world.
That is a problem for Southeast Asia.>> Ratings agency Moody's said this week that an escalation of trade tariffs in 2018 had become a baseline assumption for their work. And that Asian economies, quote, are specially vulnerable. On Wednesday the Trump administration proposed increasing a previously proposed 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to the US to 25%.