USA defends trade barriers as Davos braces for Trump


The president, who was departing Washington late Wednesday, is set to address the forum Friday.

Gary Cohn, the head of Trump's National Economic Council, put it this way: "America first is not America alone".

"Today is a great day for Canada but it is also a great day for progressive trade around the world", Trudeau said before adding that he was "working hard" to make sure Canada's "neighbor to the South" understands the benefits of free trade, including the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"'America First' does mean working with the rest of the world", said Mnuchin, who is leading the largest US delegation ever to attend the exclusive gathering. Earlier this month, he pulled out of a potential February trip for the opening of a new US embassy in London. Yet Trump's trade hawks have been quietly building a case that Modi's government is engaged in precisely the sort of unfair trade practices that the leader decried.

Parting shot: When asked what Cohn, a Davos veteran, would surprise Trump about attending the infamous gathering for the first time, the president's top economic adviser simply pointed to the "14 feet of snow" on the ground here.

Hundreds of protesters, some with their faces covered, marched in Switzerland's largest city to denounce the WEF as well as Mr. Trump's scheduled visit.

On Thursday, he will meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss Syria conflict, Iran's destabilising behavior, ways to address shortcomings in the Iran nuclear deal, and their shared goal of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula, McMaster said.

But a peek at the message Cohn and Trump may deliver when they hit town came through when the Goldman Sachs alumnus argued that "the president will continue to promote fair economic competition, and will make it clear that there can not be free and open trade if countries are not held accountable to the rules".

The remaining 11 countries announced Tuesday they would move forward with the deal without Washington.

But Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross dismissed these criticisms as PR stunts. Trump fired what could prove the opening salvo of a trade war with the Chinese on Monday (though he denies it) by slapping tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines.

The President's own trip to Davos was also in flux until several hours ago, due to the government shutdown, which has been now been resolved.

President Donald Trump plans to attend a reception with top corporate executives from the USA and Europe at the Davos economic forum this week, using the mountainside gathering for the global elite to push an economic agenda many there have spurned, according to a person familiar with the matter.

On Tuesday, NAFTA member Mexico blasted the USA tariffs, while Germany questioned whether the US move would spark a trade war with China and South Korea.

If the USA president opts to take the less diplomatic route, it will be poorly received by the audience in Davos and elsewhere, cautioned Eizenstat.