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Impact of US-China trade tariffs and tensions on the financial services industry in Asia Pacific

By TAB RadioFinance

Higher tariff imposition from trade dispute will further create opportunities, challenges, winners and losers in the region as corporates and banks adjust to shifting supply chain and new sourcing patterns.

Escalating trade tensions between the US and China, are heightening the risks to the run of benign trade flows that global trade financiers and multinationals have enjoyed over the past decade. While the direct impacts of this tit-for-tat trade retaliation is yet to materialise into an outright trade war, trade financing conditions for regional corporates doing business on integrated supply chains have begun to tighten.

 As the list of products under the tariff hikes grows, how are large banks in the Asia-Pacific positioned to help their clients smoothen any disruption from supply chain adjustments? Is the threat from shifting supply chain patterns overblown? How would this impact the banks’ ability to lend to enterprises while they gradually adjust their scale and finally what progressive steps are in the pipeline to cushion any potential slowdown in trade-related revenues? We take a look at the unfolding scenario, especially as the sector mutually prepares for paperless financing.

While the direct hit to China’s growth from tariffs announced so far is small and manageable, it will create opportunities for particularly emerging Asia to reap benefits from any positive spill overs. 

Today, the panel will discuss opportunities as well as challenges from higher tariffs and relocation of treasury operations and how banks and corporates preparing for it are. The panel will further explore areas:

Invited Speakers:

Kai Fehr is the Head of International Trade Services, APAC, at Wells Fargo. Based in Singapore, Kai leads International Trade Service (ITS) to further build Wells Fargo’s trade business for Financial Institutions and Corporate Clients in Asia Pacific. He joined the bank in 2014 from Barclays Bank in Singapore, where he was the Head of Trade & Working Capital for Asia Pacific, leading trade sales, trade product and trade asset distribution.

Prior to Barclays, Kai was with UniCredit’s Markets and Investment Bank where he had various roles leading a distressed debt special situation fund in the Philippines as well as being responsible for structured trade facilities, commodity finance for Asian clients.

Parvez Aziz is the Head for Corporate Treasury Sales, APAC, Global Transaction Services at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He assumed this role he assumed in August 2018. He is responsible for developing and executing the Asia Pacific strategy for Corporate Sales for firms global corporate and investment banking clients. He has been with the Bank since 2010, when he joined as Head of Product Solutioning and subsequently took over as NBFI & Public Sector Sales Head for APAC in 2012.

He comes with over 24 years of experience in the banking and finance industry across sales, trade finance, credit, and cash product. He is a regular contributor to discussions within the finance industry on topics related to international trade, supply chain finance and digitization.


Siddharth Chandani is a Researcher at The Asian Banker and is responsible for researching themes in the transaction banking vertical where he covers and writes on key trends in cash management, trade finance and payments. He joins The Asian Banker from S&P Global, Mumbai where he was an Associate supporting macroeconomic research for the Asia Economics team. He holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the National University of Singapore.


Keywords: Trade Finance, Tariffs, Global Supply Chains, US-China Trade Tensions, Investment
Institution: Bank Of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo
Institution: Bank Of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo
Country: China, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, USA
Region: Asia Pacific
People : Kai Fehr, Parvez Aziz, Siddharth Chandani
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