US President Donald Trump gave a carefully scripted address to participants at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, taking credit for strong economic growth in the first year of his presidency, with stock markets setting records and high levels of consumer and manufacturing confidence, and job creation. Trump said has seen unemployment among African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and women reach all-time lows.
“I am here to deliver a simple message,” said the president. “There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest, and to grow in the United States. America is open for business and we are competitive once again.”
The US president noted that millions of employees of US-based corporations have been issued tax-cut bonuses from their employers after he signed a bill that substantially lowers US corporate tax rates. “The tax cut bill is expected to raise the average American’s household income by more than $4,000,” he said.
Trump also credited lower corporate tax rates with bringing jobs and investment dollars back to American shores. “[T]he world’s largest company, Apple, announced it will bring $245 billion dollars in overseas profits home to America. Their total investment into the United States economy will be more than $350 billion over the next five years,” he said.
The US president also pointed to his administration’s elimination of what he called “burdensome regulations” and claimed that, since his inauguration, 22 regulations have been eliminated for each new rule.
Moving to the topic of trade, the president reiterated his stance that he “always put America first – just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also.” But he insisted that “America first does not mean America alone,” noting, “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 planning.”
Trump, who pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), said that the United States is willing to negotiate bilateral trade agreements, adding: “This will include the countries in the TPP, which are very important.”
The president repeated his familiar call to US allies to “invest in their own defences and meet their financial obligations,” adding: “Our common security requires everyone to contribute their fair share.”
Trump also repeated familiar criticisms of the US immigration system, saying, “America is a cutting-edge economy, but our immigration system is stuck in the past.” He called for a “merit-based system of admissions that selects new arrivals based on their ability to contribute to our economy, to support themselves financially and to strengthen our country.”