President Trump told the world’s elite business leaders gathered in Davos that “America is open for business” as he tried to balance that message with the “America First” policies that he has put in place over the past year.
“The world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America,” Trump told the audience at the World Economic Forum. “There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest, and to grow in the United States.”
Trump, who campaigned for the presidency as a voice opposed to globalization and the global elites, is the first sitting American president to attend Davos since Bill Clinton in 2000. He told the audience that as president he “will always put America first,” but added “America first does not mean America alone. When the U.S grows, so does the world.”
The remarks, which were closely watched by an audience alarmed by what many in the global elite see as a U.S. retreat from the global trading system the country created, is at odds with the policies the Trump administration has enacted after the president took office in January 2017. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Pacific region free-trade zone that included the region’s largest economies and was viewed as a counterweight to China’s growing influence in the region. Trump hasn’t hidden his disdain for the North American Free-Trade Agreement and has been ambiguous about whether the U.S. will stay in the agreement that also includes Canada and Mexico. Last week, he imposed tariffs on washing machines and solar panels made overseas, an action reminiscent of the trade wars of the 1980s. More such moves are expected.