Philippines can work with Clinton or Trump: trade envoy


Posted at Nov 07 2016 12:34 PM | Updated as of Nov 07 2016 01:23 PM

Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton answers a question from the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, US, October 9, 2016. Rick Wilking, Reuters

MANILA – The Philippine economy will be “okay” regardless of the outcome of US presidential elections this week, President Rodrigo Duterte’s newly-appointed trade envoy to Washington said Monday.

Analysts see a win by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as more favorable to the Philippines as she is seen to preserve the status quo, unlike Trump, whose protectionist policies may affect American companies’ outsourcing operations.

Special envoy for trade, investment and economic affairs Jose Antonio said he was recently in the US to get “feedback” on the five-month-old Duterte government.

“Either of the two candidates we’re quite familiar with both of them. I think we’ll have, not only an access, but a good dialogue with them,” Antonio told ANC’s “Market Edge with Cathy Yang.”

“I expect our business relations with them will continue to be as robust as before… We look forward to a very exciting, continuous relationship with our brothers from America,” said Antonio, who is also chairman and CEO of luxury developer Century Properties Group.

Antonio assumes his new position as Duterte continues to criticize the US for allegedly mistreating its long-time ally the Philippines, causing unease among investors.

Antonio said he told American businessmen that the Philippines is “no longer the same country as many people used to remember.”

“We are a big country of 100 million people, and therefore our needs and aspirations have changed, and because of this, the President is actually looking at an independent and interdependent foreign policy, which I think is very obvious in all his statements,” he said.

Antonio said he is “very apolitical” despite his business partnership with the Republican nominee for Trump Tower Manila.

“My relationship with Mr. Trump is business and my friendship with the Clintons is there too. Either of the two candidates, whatever the American people decide, we should be okay,” he said.