trump win sparks uncertainty in uslatam ties
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Trump win sparks "uncertainty" in U.S.-LatAm ties

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Arab Today, arab today Trump win sparks "uncertainty" in U.S.-LatAm ties

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Buenos Aires - Arab Today

The upset victory of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has injected "uncertainty" into U.S. ties with Latin America, and into the financial markets, said Argentine experts.

As a political outsider, Trump's election brings a degree of unpredictability to the U.S. administration that leads to "great uncertainty," Juan Manuel Karg, a political scientist at the University of Buenos Aires, told Xinhua.

"I think they are most worried in Cuba, because in the past two years there has been significant progress in terms of diplomatic ties (with Washington). That may possibly have been put in jeopardy, which could complicate the Cuba issue," said Karg.

While during the campaign, reports surfaced that Trump had pursued business ventures in Cuba, the candidate at one point said he would reverse advances made in bilateral relations so far, unless Cuba did more to meet U.S. demands for political and religious reforms.

Those remarks, however, were made in Florida, home to a large and vocal Cuban-American community that is antagonistic to the Cuban government, and may have been aimed mostly to win their backing. In Tuesday's elections, Trump handily won the state of Florida.

But Cuba may have nothing to fear, since it is probably not high on Trump's agenda, said Karg.

Those who voted for Trump essentially said: "'solve the domestic problems for me', rather than 'get involved in foreign problems'. It remains to be seen whether Trump lives up to that (message) or not," said Karg.

Either way, his presidency will mark a turning point in U.S. foreign policy, Karg said, since Trump's campaign platform made it clear he would pursue an "isolationist" policy.

Washington's role abroad, under a Trump presidency, "is the great question mark for international analysts the world over. The United States that got involved in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya ... it seems that there is going to be a ceiling on this policy, or at least a certain limit on this policy, according to Trump's discourse. Only time will tell," said Karg.

FINANCIAL UNCERTAINTY

Trump's win is also set to "generate greater financial volatility that will make credit more expensive in the short term, and lead to more talk of trade protectionism in the medium term," said Dante Sica, head of financial consulting firm ABECEB.

Stock markets momentarily dipped on news Trump won the elections, but recovered quickly.

Still, the election turnout "is a cause for concern," said Sica, though he added "we have to wait for Trump to designate his cabinet and outline the first measures."

In a post-election report, Sica predicted "the local financial market is going to feel the effect of Trump's victory, in instability and resistant equity assets, especially those related to commodities."

After an initial shake up, however, "the market should stabilize given that its conditions depend more on internal rather than external factors," he added.

Sica echoed Karg's belief that Trump's focus will be on domestic issues or elsewhere, not on Latin America.

"The region is not going to be a priority for the United States. There are no urgent threats or important challenges in the region to draw the attention of the United States, and Argentina is no exception. The incoming administration doesn't seem to be too interested in regional integration," said Sica.

"U.S. policy will mainly center on bilateral ties and, in that sense, we hope that the relationship between Argentina and the United States, which had been reactivated by the arrival of (President Mauricio) Macri, doesn't cool off by delayed progress," Sica added.

Washington-Buenos Aires relations warmed up when the pro-business Macri took office in December last year, taking over from Argentina's previous more left-leaning government.

While trade between the two had steadily declined, from 14 percent of Argentina's total trade exchange in 2002 to just 9 percent in 2015, the U.S. "continues to be an important trade partner, the third biggest after Brazil and China," said Sica.

"The impact (of a further drop in trade) could be considerable in some sectors. Even though the U.S. market is not as important now as it used to be, it continues to be key for several food products, such as sugar, juice and wine, and other products, such as aluminum, some chemicals and crude," said Sica.

He added Trump's "more protectionist outlook ... could also endanger several advances made in recent months in the bilateral agenda, particularly the opening of the lemon and meat markets, and the recent decision to assess Argentina's reentry into the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)," which the U.S. uses to apply lower trade tariffs on allied developing countries.

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