Despite fears of rising protectionism in the global economy, trade expansion will continue and remain an unstoppable force.

This was the key message delivered by the finance ministers of India, Pakistan and Indonesia at a panel discussion held on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank’s 50th annual meeting on Saturday.

Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati noted that global poverty has been significantly reduced since 1950 because most countries, especially those in Southeast Asia, have benefited from open trade and globalization.

“This is something we need to recognize and maintain,” she said, even as world’s trade policies “are becoming more uncertain.”

 One of the uncertainties panelists mentioned was U.S. President Donald Trump’s signing of an executive order in March to launch a 90-day investigation of countries with which the U.S. runs a significant trade deficit. The list of 16 trading partners include such Asian economies as Japan, China, Thailand and Indonesia.

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