In what was billed as one of his mostly highly anticpated foreign policy setting US President Donald J. Trump appeared to contradict his well-worn isolationist policy of “America First” by declaring the country “open for business”
Trump’s appearance at the seems World Economic Forum – the main venue for the world’s leading globalists – was seen by most as an unlikely venue for the famously anti-trade, populist Trump. In his first-ever visit to Davos, Trump appeared to offer an olive branch to his counterparts and the world’s leading business people by offering new spin on his usual isolationist message, saying “America first is not America Alone” in his speech to the attendees.
Trump used his speech to champion his economic record since he took office just over one year ago, but also called for free trade and foreign investment, with the caveat that they benefit the US first.
“I will always put America first, just as the leaders of other countries should put their countries first,” said Trump, adding, “When the United States grows, so does the world.”
Harkening back to his campaign slogan, Trump insisted that global free trade treats the US unfairly, and his generally geared towards exploiting the US economy.
“We cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others…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. The United States will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices.”
Trump did, however, appear to embrace the overall tone of Davos by offering the participants a friendly challenge to engage one another as competitors to contribute to their national economies.
“In this hall are national leaders, industry titans and many of the brightest minds in many fields. You have an obligation to the people who put you in this position. Let us send our love and our gratitude to them, because they make our countries run, they make our countries great.
Not missing the opportunity to touch on a hot-button issue in both the US and Europe, Trump addressed his controversial immigration policy, “We are also securing our immigration system as a matter of national and economic security,” he said. “Our immigration system is stuck in the past and the U.S. must limit family-based immigration and emphasise merit-based immigration.”
Trump’s wife – First Lady Melania Trump – who had been expected at Davos, did not accompany her husband to Davos.
According to Stephanie Grisham, the East Wing spokeswoman, Melania’s decision to miss the summit was due to “scheduling and logistical issues” that conflicted with her schedule.
The impact of Trump’s Davos speech seems to have been very limited. Reuters reported that US fourth-quarter economic growth has been recorded at 2.6 %, less than expected, minutes after Trump finished his address.