Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Trump pushes 'America first' during tough trade talk in Asia

RECOMMENDED READING


DANANG, Vietnam (AP) — President Donald Trump stood before a summit of Asian leaders keen on regional trade pacts and delivered a roaring "America first" message Friday, denouncing China for unfair trade practices just a day after he had heaped praise on President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

"We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore," Trump told CEOs on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference. "I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first."

The president — who pulled the United States out of the Pacific Rim trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership — said the U.S. would no longer join "large agreements that tie our hands, surrender our sovereignty and make meaningful enforcement practically impossible."

Instead, he said, the U.S. will pursue one-on-one trade deals with other nations that pledge fair and reciprocal trade. The message stood in sharp contrast to the behind-the-scenes negotiations taking place among other countries at the summit on a successor to TPP.

As for China, Trump said he'd spoken "openly and directly" with Xi about the nation's abusive trade practices and "the enormous trade deficits they have produced with the United States."

It was a stark change in tone from the day before, when Trump was Xi's guest of honor during a state visit in Beijing. There, Trump opted for flattering Xi and blaming past U.S. presidents for the trade deficit.

Trump said China's trade surplus, which stood at $223 billion for the first 10 months of the year, was unacceptable. He repeated his language from Thursday, when he said he did "not blame China" or any other country "for taking advantage of the United States on trade."

But Trump added forceful complaints about "the audacious theft of intellectual property," ''massive subsidizing of industries through colossal state-owned enterprises," and American companies being targeted by "state-affiliated actors for economic gain" — without singling China out by name.

U.S. officials have raised similar concerns in the past about China, especially with regard to intellectual property.

On Saturday, Trump attended meetings with leaders of the 21-member APEC countries. Later in the day, he was to fly to Hanoi, the capital, to attend a state banquet before formal meetings Sunday with Vietnam's president and prime minister.

In a major breakthrough, trade ministers from 11 nations remaining in the Trans-Pacific Partnership — representing roughly 13.5 percent of the global economy — said Saturday they had reached a deal to proceed with the free-trade pact after it was thrown into doubt when Trump abandoned it.

Behind the scenes, White House officials quietly negotiated with the Kremlin over whether Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin would hold a formal meeting on the sidelines in Danang, with the Russians raising expectations for such a session.

As speculation built, the two sides tried to craft the framework of a deal that Trump and Putin could announce in a formal bilateral meeting, according to two administration officials not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions.

Though North Korea and the Ukraine had been discussed, the two sides focused on trying to strike an agreement about a path to resolve Syria's civil war once the Islamic State group is defeated, according to officials. But the talks stalled and, just minutes before Air Force One touched down in Vietnam, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the meeting was off.

When asked about the outcome, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later snapped at reporters: "Why are you asking me? Ask the Americans."

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that even without a formal meeting, "Both presidents are in town, and their paths will cross one way or another."

That they did Friday night during the summit's welcome gala: The two men, each wearing traditional Vietnamese shifts, shook hands and greeted one another as they stood side-by-side for the group photo of world leaders.

The two men shook hands and spoke briefly again during Saturday's meeting, according to a Fox News videographer who was the only American journalist allowed into the room. Journalists traveling with Trump were not permitted to observe any of the APEC events he participated in.

Trump and Putin were also seen chatting as all leaders walked to an outdoor location for their traditional group photo.

___

Follow Colvin on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@colvinj and Lemire at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire

Comments
Bipartisan outrage over Trump administration’s decision on Haitians

Bipartisan outrage over Trump administration’s decision on Haitians

Recriminations continued Tuesday over the Trump administration's plan to send Haitians home in 2019, a decision that brought rare bipartisan objections from Florida lawmakers."These individuals experienced severe loss and suffering as a result of the...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Name game: What should this year’s UF-FSU rivalry game be called?

Name game: What should this year’s UF-FSU rivalry game be called?

This hasn't exactly been a banner year for Florida and Florida State football. And bowl bids are no certainties for either program. So we could look at this year's rivalry as their de facto bowl game. The Times' college football staff takes a crack a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Clouds build, setting stage for a soggy Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Clouds build, setting stage for a soggy Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay

Clouds and temperatures are increasing — and so are rain chances – as Thanksgiving could be a soggy one across the Tampa Bay region.[WTSP]Check the latest Tampa Bay-area live radar: The wet outlook is due to a systems that will produce spotty shower...
Updated: 2 minutes ago

AP Top News at 10:40 a.m. EST

AP Top News at 10:40 a.m. EST
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Zimbabwe's Parliament launches effort to impeach Mugabe

Zimbabwe's Parliament launches effort to impeach Mugabe

Zimbabwe's Parliament launches effort to impeach Mugabe; fired VP says he should leave now
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Zimbabwe's Parliament launches effort to impeach Mugabe

Zimbabwe's Parliament launches effort to impeach Mugabe

Zimbabwe's Parliament launches effort to impeach Mugabe; fired VP says he should leave now
Updated: 4 minutes ago
The Eagles, Jimmy Buffett coming to Camping World Stadium in Orlando

The Eagles, Jimmy Buffett coming to Camping World Stadium in Orlando

Now you know what to get your dad for Christmas.The Eagles are hitting the road in 2018, and they're bringing along one of their best friends from the '70s: Jimmy Buffett. The tour will hit Orlando's Camping World Stadium on April 14 before moving to...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Michigan Rep. Conyers denies sexual harassment settlements

Michigan Rep. Conyers denies sexual harassment settlements

Michigan Rep. John Conyers has told The Associated Press that he hasn't settled any sexual harassment complaints with any staff members
Updated: 6 minutes ago
German domestic political woes may have international effect

German domestic political woes may have international effect

The collapse of talks to form a new German government has weakened Chancellor Angela Merkel and left her country, an influential European economic powerhouse, facing months more political instability
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Florida man bites police officer during warrant hearing

Florida man bites police officer during warrant hearing

Miami (AP) — Authorities say a man bit a police officer who was taking him into custody during a hearing in a Miami courtroom.Miami-Dade police spokesman Argemis Colome tells news outlets the officer suffered a "severe injury" when Godel Leveille bit...
Updated: 12 minutes ago