A Donald Trump presidency would be a disaster for Asian trade, analysts have warned.

Economists at Japanese bank Nomura have warned that the protectionist policies promised by the Republican Party nominee, combined with the high level of uncertainty and volatility, will hit trade and investment around the region.

Trump’s belligerent attitude towards China is likely to hamper trade and investment elsewhere in Asia, with China acting as a massive conduit for the flow of capital around the world’s largest continent. It would also bring great friction to the trading relationship between the world’s two largest economies.

In a bid to reform the US-China trade balance, Trump has promised to introduce a 45% tariff on the import of Chinese goods to the US. This, Nomura’s analysts claim, would have a very negative impact.

“Trade frictions could extend to higher value-added products as well, such as mechanical and electrical products, which comprise over 40% of China’s total export to the US,” they write.

“A Trump presidency may lead to a smaller trade surplus and more capital outflows due to increased trade frictions and geopolitical risks in the region. However, we believe the impact should be limited as China and the US have more common interests than conflicts in the region.”

Furthermore, Trump’s proposals would be met with retaliatory counter-measures from Asian nations, most notably China – which is already involved in a number of disputes with the US at the WTO over steel exports, among other areas of trade.

The report also points to the fact that Trump would likely exit negotiations over a number of high-profile free trade agreements, namely the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

In addition to this, he has spoken of a desire to reverse the North Atlantic Free Trade Area (NAFTA) and to exit the WTO.

“Within the eurozone, Ireland is particularly exposed to trade and FDI shocks that could stem from Mr Trump’s policy proposals,” Nomura

Leading figures in Asian trade have voiced serious concerns over what a Trump presidency might mean for regional prospects. Speaking to GTR, the executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, Deborah Elms, predicts the worst.

“I think there are two ways to play this. One is to assume that despite all evidence to the contrary, the man will surround himself with people who will have him rein in his instincts and that he would behave properly.

“Policy would continue more or less unchanged, in other words you’d still have US policy behaving as it has done in Asia for some time, no matter which party is in power,” she says.

She adds: “But I’m not certain that’s true. He is a lunatic, so who knows what he would actually do in office or who he would offend and how he would do it.

“So even if you can’t find whatever country on the map, you have no idea about history and sensitivities, you’re surrounded by people who will keep you from doing anything monumentally stupid. I’m not sure that holds. US policy towards Asia in particular could change radically. But I hope we don’t ever find out.”

Joshua Meltzer, an international trade expert at the Brookings Institute, says that the prospect of a Trump presidency would reverse a lot of the progress made in Asia over free trade agreements.

He tells GTR: “If you take what he said at face value, there will be no TPP, an escalation in protectionism and possibly a trade war.

He adds: “Clinton would come back to TPP in some form at some point. I don’t think it would be quick, it would take a while. She specifically said recently she’s pro-trade but that parts of the TPP could be improved. She understands the more strategic influence of the TPP. She was Secretary of State and a big part of its development.”

Meanwhile, Jayant Menon, a lead economist at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) agrees that the prospect of Trump at the helm would worry most involved in trade, but emphasises the hamstringing nature of US politics.

“A lot of the things that he wants to do, he simply wouldn’t be able to do,” he tells GTR. “You only have to look at what’s happened with Obama to see the limitations of the president. And a lot of the trade stuff wouldn’t be possible. Most of it is illegal, based on WTO rules.”

A separate note from Nomura looks on the impact that a Trump presidency would have on the eurozone. It finds that Ireland would be the European nation hardest hit.

It reads: “Looking at Mr Trump’s current proposals, we believe that the impact on the eurozone will be mainly felt through trade from Mr Trump’s isolationist rhetoric, weaker FDI inflows as a result of the proposed changes to corporate taxes and the impact on fiscal policy owing to likely increased military spending because of Mr Trump’s perspective on NATO and the US’s place in the world.”

Of Ireland, analysts say: “Within the eurozone, Ireland is particularly exposed to trade and FDI shocks that could stem from Mr Trump’s policy proposals. In terms of market impact, euro/US$ will likely suffer from changes in FDI, especially if US corporates repatriate their foreign earnings.

“The weaker growth resulting from a potential decline imports and US investment could mean weaker government revenue, leading to higher fiscal risks and yields in some countries such as Ireland.”