WA BUSINESS could benefit from a tightening of trade restrictions in the US, according to WA Chamber of Commerce economist Rick Newnham.
Mr Newnham said China was likely to emerge as an advocate for free trade, if US President Donald Trump implemented stricter economic barriers.
“As Western Australia’s largest trading partner, the strength of the Chinese economy is absolutely critical to the health of our own,” he said.
“If China’s economy strengthens off the back of greater prominence on the world stage and in Asia, subsequent growth in their economy could increase demand for Western Australian exports – namely iron ore.”
He said that would be good news for the WA economy, which is largely export-driven and dominated by global iron ore demand.
Mr Newnham added that iron ore investment in WA could also spike if President Trump followed through on a plan to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure.
But he said any potential military conflict in the South China Sea could “impact on WA hard”.
“A huge amount of WA’s exports including iron ore make their way to China through this critical trade route, so any destabilisation of this zone will have a serious impact on WA’s economic health, as this would deter business investment, which would in turn stifle growth and threaten job creation,” he said.
With a large FIFO base, Cockburn’s governance and community services director Don Green said the City was hopeful jobs in mining and oil and gas industries, as well as those small businesses that provide support products and services, would be created.