Donald Trump told the World Economic Forum in Davos that “America is open for business and we are competitive once again.”
The U.S. president told world and business leaders: “I am here to represent the interests of the American people, and affirm our commitment to helping to build a better world.
“America wants to help build a world where everyone can prosper, and every child can grow up free from poverty and fear.”
He added that “the world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America. I’m here to deliver a simple message — there has never been a better time to invest in America.
“America is open for business, and we are competitive once again.”
Trump, whose delivery seemed flat throughout his speech, talked up the American economy and said his tax cuts were spurring investment and creating jobs.
“Now is the perfect time to bring your business, your investment and your jobs to the U.S,” he said before attacking “unelected bureaucrats” for imposing over-burdensome regulation, which he called “stealth taxation.”
“We cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others,” Trump said.
Staying with trade, Trump said free trade “needs to be fair, and it needs to be reciprocal,” adding that the U.S. “will no longer turn a blind eye” to unfair practices such as subsidies and unfair state-led economic planning.
He also said he could negotiate a trade deal with the countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership — “if it is in the interests of all.” Trump pulled out of the TPP last year.
Turning to foreign policy, Trump called for “maximum pressure to de-nuke the Korean peninsula” and help to “block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.”
He then criticized his country’s immigration system, which he dubbed “outdated.” He said the U.S. needs a new “merit-based system” based on people’s ability to support themselves financially and help rebuild the economy.
He ended with a tribute to the “hard-working people” in countries across the world.
“Let us send our love and our gratitude to them, because they make our countries run, they make our country great.”
After a military band had warmed up the crowd, Trump was introduced by a fawning World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab while the president sat awkwardly on the stage. When Schwab said Trump had suffered from mis-interpretations, some in the audience hissed.
Schwab, who missed no opportunity to praise Trump, then sat with the president for a chat that began with a request to expand on his tax reforms. Trump, who had seemed restrained and downbeat during his scripted speech, appeared more animated during the less formal part of the address, and took a swing at the Democrats, saying that “if the opposing party” had won the election “the stock market wouldn’t be up 50 percent, it would be down close to 50 percent.”
Warming up, Trump said he always had a good relationship with the press as a businessman but that changed when he became president, and he didn’t realize “how nasty, how mean, how vicious and how fake the media are.” That comment was met with some boos and hisses from the room.
Shortly before Trump’s address, a waiter was seen delivering four hamburgers and fries to the speakers’ room.