Business News

Asia Pacific business leaders ‘concerned’ about Trump presidency, survey finds

Xie Yu
President Donald Trump leaves the Presidents Room of the Senate at the Capitol after he formally signed his cabinet nominations into law, in Washington, U.S. on January 20, 2017.
J. Scott Applewhite | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Asia Pacific business leaders feel the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency could be negative for the region in the long run although they have yet to feel the effect on their businesses, recent research done by Harvey Nash has found.

A nervous world watched as Trump took the oath of office and gave his inaugural address in Washington on Friday U.S. time, with business leaders in the Asia Pacific region most worried about trade and tariff frictions and market instability, according to the survey, which was conducted between late November and December.

The "Trump Effect on Asia" survey, which polled 141 APAC business leaders, found that the majority "expressed concern about the lasting impact of a Trump presidency", Harvey Nash said.

Specifically, 29 percent of respondents expect Trump will have a long-term negative impact on APAC business profits, 19 per cent are assessing their existing trade deals with the U.S., and 7 per cent have cut budgets as a result of Trump's victory.

"The U.S. will be more inward looking. China will carry on with its global expansion plan. ASEAN will be split between the major powers and self-interest," one of the respondent's comment was cited as saying in the survey release.

Wall Street happy with a Trump presidency?

Up to 65 percent of the respondents had no plan in place for a Trump victory, 19 percent had prepared a business contingency plan, and only 9 percent were fully prepared, with both a response and plans to deal with the outcome, the survey found.

Meanwhile, 59 percent of respondents believe that trade and tariff negotiations will be affected by the Trump presidency, 49 percent foresee market instability, and 30 percent anticipate an economic slowdown in the region.

More from the South China Morning Post:
Anti-Trump protesters clash with police, illustrating deep divisions
US has failed to spread benefits of globalisation, Jack Ma tells Davos
XiJinping calls for world with no nuclear weapons

At the time of the survey, 71 percent of respondents believed Trump's victory had not yet affected their business, 15 percent reported a negative impact, while 8 percent said it had a positive impact on business.

"Trump's victory came as a surprise... Those in the region must now look at how to steady the ship and put in place plans to deal with these anticipated changes," said Nick Marsh, managing director, Harvey Nash Executive Search APAC.

Also, 36 per cent of respondents believe there will now be an increased focus on local leadership in APAC, while 35 per cent foresee Asian nationals returning in greater numbers from the U.S., and 24 percent expect to see a slowdown in talent migration.

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.