DAVOS (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump took his “America First” message to the world’s elite on Friday, telling a summit of business and political leaders that the US would “no longer turn a blind eye” to what he described as unfair trade practices.
Mr Trump became the first sitting US President to address the annual conclave of the rich and powerful at the Swiss ski resort of Davos for 18 years, closing the summit with a mostly upbeat speech that declared the US “open for business”.
“Now is the best time to bring your money, your jobs, your businesses to America,” he said, singling out tax cuts and curbs to regulation as boosting the investment climate. “The world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America.”
He said he would always promote “America First”, as he expected other world leaders to do on behalf of their own countries, but added: “America First does not mean America alone. When the United States grows so does the world.”
But he swiftly turned to a theme of demanding tougher enforcement of trade rules, accusing unidentified countries of unfair practices, including stealing intellectual property and providing state aid to industry.
“We will enforce our trade laws and restore integrity to the trading system. 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,” Mr Trump said.
“The United States will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair trade practices,” he said. “We cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others.”
His speech was mostly met by polite applause, although he drew some jeers and whistles during a question and answer session, when he attacked the news media.