Friday 19 October 2018

US is open for business under my leadership, Trump tells world leaders

The US president addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Donald Trump addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone/AP)
Donald Trump addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone/AP)

By Catherine Lucey

Donald Trump has told political and business leaders that America is open for business under his leadership and that economic growth in the US also benefits the rest of the world.

The US president told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that American prosperity has created countless jobs around the world, but stressed that his priority would always remain with his “America First” policy protecting interests within his nation’s borders.

“As president of the United States, I will always put America first, just as the leaders of other countries should put their countries first,” he said.

But he tried to strike a balance, tempering his nationalist agenda with reassurances to the globalist and co-operation-minded audience that his protectionist vision “does not mean America alone”.

“When the United States grows, so does the world,” Mr Trump said.

“American prosperity has created countless jobs around the globe and the drive for excellence, creativity and innovation in the United States has led to important discoveries that help people everywhere live more prosperous and healthier lives.”

As Forum chairman Klaus Schwab introduced Mr Trump, he drew some hisses when he said the president could be subject to “misconceptions and biased interpretations”.

When Mr Trump took the stage, he received modest applause but some people kept their hands at their sides.

The crowd was largely subdued as the president spoke, but there were boos when he took a swipe at the media.

Mr Trump showcased the country’s roaring economy and made a pitch to the world leaders that “America is open for business and we are competitive once again”.

The gathering had viewed him with scepticism, given his “America First” message, but the White House has insisted his protectionist policies and international co-operation can go hand-in-hand.

He addressed the crowd of more than 1,500 people packed into a high-ceilinged hall in the modern conference centre.

Anticipation was high from attendees, who have watched the president closely since he arrived, snapping photos when he entered and as he moved from room to room.

He hit some of the same nationalist notes that have become hallmarks of his other speeches to international gatherings, calling for secure borders, stricter immigration policies and enhanced national sovereignty, saying that each nation should put its own economic interests ahead of the larger multinational partnerships.

“We support free trade but it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal,” said Mr Trump, who has long expressed a preference for one-to-one national trade deals rather than regional ones.

But he also left the door open to re-entering the Trans Pacific Partnership, a sweeping trade deal from which he withdrew a year ago, saying that “perhaps” the US could resume negotiations with many of the participating countries at once.

As if making a salesman’s pitch, he repeatedly boasted about his nation’s economy and pushed for international co-operation to combat terrorism.

But he left unaddressed a number of concerns for the globalist community, including climate change, the fate of refugees and diplomatic solutions for a number of the world’s hot spots, including the Middle East.

Press Association

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