President Donald Trump addressed the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Jan. 26. In his much-anticipated speech, Trump defended his “America First” policies and said, “When the United States grows, so does the world.”
More than 3,000 business and political leaders from all around the world gathered in Davos this year. Trump is the second U.S. President to attend the WEF in person after President Bill Clinton.
“I’m here today to represent the interests of the American people,” said Trump. He laid out his international trade priorities and touted his business-friendly policies.
He said the United States would support free trade, but it would not tolerate some countries that exploit the system at the expense of others.
“Only by insisting on fair and reciprocal trade, can we create a system that works not just for the United States but for all nations,” he said.
“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.”
His administration is preparing to negotiate bilateral trade agreements with all countries including the ones in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), he said, but he would also consider negotiating multilateral trade agreements “if it is in the interest of all.”
Shortly after his inauguration, Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP, a trade deal that had been negotiated under President Barack Obama. He claimed it was a “horrible deal.”
In an interview with CNBC on Jan. 25, Trump said he was open to reconsidering his decision on TPP.
“I’ll give you a big story. I would do TPP if we made a much better deal than we had,” he told CNBC.
‘Open For Business’
During his speech, Trump also touted economic successes resulting from his recent tax reform and deregulation.
“America is open for business again,” he said. “There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest, and to grow in the United States.”
Trump signed his tax reform bill into law in December last year. He called it the “most significant tax cuts and reform in American history.” The bill reduces the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.
With the tax code overhaul, the country is planning to attract trillions of dollars of U.S. cash parked overseas. Trump praised Apple during his address at Davos. The tech giant will bring $245 billion in overseas profits back, he said, and its total investment will be more than $350 billion over the next five years.
“Now is the perfect time to bring your business, your jobs, and your investments into the United States,” he said. “This is especially true because we have undertaken the most extensive regulatory reduction ever conceived.”
He praised his administration’s efforts to roll back burdensome regulations by repealing 22 regulations for every one new rule.
“The stock market is smashing one record after another and has added more than $7 trillion in new wealth since my election,” he said. And he linked his success to his business background.
“I guess there’s never really been a businessman or business person elected president. It has always been a general or a politician,” he said.
Had the opposing party won, he said, the stock market would have been down 50 percent instead of going up.
“Because they were going to put on massive new regulations you couldn’t breathe—that was choking our country to death—and I was able to see that as a business person,” Trump said.
On the security side, Trump called on the international community to cooperate on confronting Iran and North Korea. He also said the United States is working with allies and partners to defeat terrorist organizations like ISIS.
“The coalition to defeat ISIS has retaken almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. There is still more fighting and work to be done,” he said.