US President Donald Trump vows to put ‘America First’ in trade deals

November 10, 2017 4:52 am
President speaks on the final day of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, on Friday, November 10, 2017. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump has warned America’s trading partners that Washington will “no longer tolerate” unfair trade, closed markets and intellectual property theft, highlighting his “America First” doctrine that seeks to rewrite the rules of global commerce.
In a speech on Friday to Asia-Pacific leaders in Vietnam, Trump said was ready to make a bilateral deal with any country in the region, but only on the basis of “mutual respect and mutual benefit.”
America “will not tolerate… chronic trade abuses” Trump said as he criticized the World Trade Organization for failing to regulate free trade violations by nations.
“We are not going to let the be taken advantage of any more. I am always going to put America first the same way I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.”
Trump arrived in Vietnam to take part in the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, as part of his 12-day trip to Asia.
Trump has already visited Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing, where he sought to build a consensus against North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
Redressing the trade balance between the United States and East Asia is at the center of Trump’s “America First” policy he says will protect US workers.
Trump has repeatedly blamed unfair trade deals and abusive practices by low-wage APEC members like China and Mexico for the massive US trade deficit and the loss of high-paying US factory jobs.
So far this year, the United States has run a trade gap of nearly $450 billion, up about 10 percent from a year earlier. China has by far the biggest trade surplus with the United States.
“The bilateral trade balance remains tilted in China’s favor,” said Tom Orlik, chief Asia economist for Bloomberg Intelligence. “Expectations that the Trump trip with do anything to fix the problem are low.”
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