RBA Deputy Governor Guy Debelle said in a speech today that the direct effects of US-China tariffs “has not been all that large”. However, the larger impact has been the uncertainty generated by the dispute. The uncertainty takes “two forms”. Firstly, there was uncertainty about the “size and incidence” of tariffs. Secondly, it’s unsure how “technology dispute” will be resolved.

Debelle also warned that “it is plausible that the effect of the technology dispute will be larger than that of the tariffs” And, “the technology dispute raises the possibility that any business involved in the technology production chain will have to choose between East and West rather than selling into a global market.”

Also, he said current trade dispute would have a “large and long-lasting impact” on the “system of rules-based trade”. And, “The China–US dispute casts serious doubt on that. We can also see that manifest in the US–Europe trade issues, as well as those between South Korea and Japan.” Also, “trade is being used as the bargaining tool of choice, including for issues that don’t have much to do with trade.”

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Debelle’s full speech here.

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