Donald Trump urged nations of what he called the Indo-Pacific region to enter into fair and reciprocal economic relationships with America, insisting in a speech at the Apec summit that the US would no longer tolerate “chronic trade abuses”.
Speaking in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang at the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, Mr Trump praised many countries in the region for achieving “tremendous” economic success in recent decades. But he resurrected many of the hard-edged trade themes of his presidential campaign in declaring that the US had been treated unfairly by the world.
“I will make bilateral trade agreements with any Indo-Pacific nation that wants to be our partner and will abide by the principles of fair and reciprocal trade,” Mr Trump said in a speech that received little applause.
“We seek robust trade relationships rooted in the principles of fairness and reciprocity,” Mr Trump continued. “When the US enters into a trading relationship with other countries?.?.?.?we will from now on expect that our partners will faithfully follow the rules just like we did. We expect that markets will be open to an equal degree on both sides and that private industry, not government planners, will direct investment.”
Mr Trump said that “for too long and in too many places the opposite has happened”. At one point when a man in the audience appeared to disagree with what he was saying, the US president singled out the delegate and said: “Funny, they must have been one of the beneficiaries. What country do you come from, Sir?”