President Trump on Friday took his America first message overseas, telling business leaders and countries at the World Economic Forum that “America is open for business.”
“I’m here to deliver a simple message: There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest, and to grow in the United States,” Trump said. America is open for business, and we are competitive once again.”
The most anticipated speech of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump focused his 15 minute speech on the U.S. Economy since elected president, citing his first year policy and accomplishments.
“After years of stagnation, the United States is once again experiencing strong economic growth,” the president said. “The stock market is smashing one record after another, and has added more than $7 trillion in new wealth since my election. Consumer confidence, business confidence, and manufacturing confidence are the highest they have been in many decades.”
Trump added, “Since my election, we’ve created 2.4 million jobs, and that number is going up very, very substantially. Small-business optimism is at an all-time high. New unemployment claims are near the lowest we’ve seen in almost half a century. African American unemployment has reached the lowest rate ever recorded in the United States, and so has unemployment among Hispanic Americans.”
It’s the first time for President Trump visiting Davos and Switzerland and 18 years since a United States President spoke at the World Economic Forum. Trump used his speech to pitch America as a “place to do business,” while warning nations that America will not turn a “blind eye” when it comes to “unfair economic practices” such as massive intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies, and pervasive state-led economic planning.
“America is the place to do business. So come to America, where you can innovate, create, and build,” Trump said. “As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also. But America first does not mean America alone. When the United States grows, so does the world.”
“We support free trade, but it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal. Because, in the end, unfair trade undermines us all, Trump added. “The United States will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices, including massive intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies, and pervasive state-led economic planning. These and other predatory behaviors are distorting the global markets and harming businesses and workers, not just in the U.S., but around the globe.”
However, the president said he was open to negotiating multilateral trade agreements, including with TPP countries (Trans-Pacific Partnership), a pact that Trump pulled out as one of his first acts as president last year.
“We cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others,” Trump said. “We support free trade, but it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal.”
Earlier this week, the eleven TPP members reached an agreement on a major trade pact in Tokyo.
“We have agreements with several of them already,” Trump added. “We would consider negotiating with the rest, either individually, or perhaps as a group, if it is in the interests of all.”
On non-economic issues, the president stressed that the international community should work together on security concerns, such as fighting the Islamic State and the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program.
After the speech, Trump took Q&As with founder Klaus Schwab, with Schwab asks the president how his experience helped prepare him for the presidency. Trump emphasized his business credentials while taking a jab at the media for biased coverage he received as President compared to when he was a businessman.
“The other thing is, I’ve always seemed to get, for whatever reason, a disproportionate amount of press or media,” Trump responded. “And as a businessman I was always treated really well by the press. It wasn’t until I became a politician that I realized how nasty, how mean, how vicious, and how fake the press can be.”