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Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson spoke at an American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Hong Kong event on the implications that would arise from the 2018 US midterm election result on trade and politics of the country. The timely and forward-looking discussion was organized by AmCham, Hong Kong University’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre and the US Consulate General on November 7, 2018, at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Hong Kong.

The event, titled “The 2018 U.S. Midterms – What do the results mean for trade and politics?”, was organized to discuss the implications of the US midterm election result. The result was announced on November 6, 2018, in which the Democratic party took over the House of Representatives and Republican party held on to the Senate.

The event kicked off with opening remarks from US Consulate General Kurt Tong. The panelists at the event included:

  • Keith Richburg, Director, JMSC
  • Kym Kettler-Paddock, Communications Director, Republicans Overseas
  • Edith Terry, Former Chair, Democrats Abroad
  • Peter Levesque, Managing Director, Modern Terminals
  • Stephen Olson, Research Fellow, the Hinrich Foundation

During the discussion, Olson pointed out that a lot of trade partners are dissatisfied with President Donald Trump’s style and his unilateral approaches but there is a growing acknowledgement that many of the points put forth by President Trump are valid and have to be addressed.

He explained that the new NAFTA ratification will get more complicated as there will be an increased likelihood that Congress will try to reassert its authority, possibly in the form of asking for more consultation with Congressional officials on trade matters. It could therefore curb President Trump’s current trade power.

On US-China trade relations, Olson argued that the US midterm election result will not have any significant impact on the current US and China tariff war as both Democrats and Republicans have similar views on taking a hard line with China. However, the tit-for-tat tariff war between the two countries will affect American consumers.

About the author- Pragya Bhatnagar

Pragya Bhatnagar is a Research Associate with the Hinrich Foundation where he focuses on International Trade Research. He is a Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader Scholar alumnus, earning his Master’s degree in International Journalism, specializing in Business and Financial Journalism, from Hong Kong Baptist University. He received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Lucknow University, India.