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Trump’s unilateralist stance at Davos alienates allies

2018-01-29

Source: Global Times    Published: 2018-1-26


US President Donald Trump emphasized "America First" at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday and his speech prompted Chinese experts to note his policy flew in the face of increasing globalization while undermining the confidence of US allies.


"I believe in America. As president of the United States, I will always put America first. Just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first. But America First does not mean America alone," Trump said during his first appearance in Davos on Friday, the Guardian reported.


"We cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others… Free trade needs to be fair, and needs to be reciprocal," he said.


"The US will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair trade practices," Trump said. "We cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others. We support free trade but it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal."


While Trump has a record of opposing multilateral trade agreements involving many countries, he said the US would consider "mutually beneficial" bilateral trade agreements with other individual states, Reuters reported.


Before his trip to Davos, Trump imposed 30 percent tariffs on imported solar panels, among the first unilateral trade restrictions made by the administration as part of a broader protectionist agenda, Reuters reported.


Ding Yifan, a professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Friday that "Trump`s America First policy will not earn support in Davos and no good will come of insisting on this policy."  


Many countries want the US to change course and felt increasingly disappointed by the country, Ding said. They may even turn to China, he noted.


Chinese President Xi Jinping`s vision of building "a community of shared future for mankind" was hailed in Switzerland last year. Many countries agree the world is more connected and economic developments in each country are more linked, Ding noted.


"Only Trump failed to recognize the trend and carries on in pursuit of his unilateralism," he said.


Trump`s protectionism flies against the spirit of the World Economic Forum in Davos, said Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China.


US elites, previously avid supporters of globalization, created the rules for globalization to ensure that the US held a long-term lead. But Trump disagreed and now wants to see immediate practical benefits, he said.


"Trump went to Davos hoping to set a direction for future global cooperation. He wants all countries to cooperate under US leadership and he wants the US to benefit most," Jin said.


During his speech, Trump also outlined his tax cut plan to help the economy by spurring investment and giving workers a pay rise.


He told business leaders, "Now is the perfect time to bring your business, your investment and your jobs to the US."


Zhang Jiadong, director of the Center of South Asian Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, said that "under the America First policy, the US may see some short-term benefits, but it will also lose leadership and the confidence of its allies."


Despite his unpopularity in the international community, "Trump still came to Davos. He has domestic supporters and he wants to show them that he is actually doing something," Zhang told the Global Time on Friday.


Trump landed in Davos on Thursday and met leaders including UK Prime Minister Theresa May following a week of warnings by top European figures on the dangers of isolationism and nationalism.


Jin Canrong is associate dean of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China.

Key Words: Trump   Davos   US   Jin Canrong  

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