Trump lauds Asia trade wins

The Phnom Penh Post - - MARKBEUTSSINESS -

DON­ALD Trump yes­ter­day lauded his trade achieve­ments dur­ing a five-na­tion tour of Asia, promis­ing he would re­veal “far big­ger” steps when he re­turned to Wash­ing­ton.

The US pres­i­dent has fre­quently be­moaned what he calls “un­fair” in­ter­na­tional trade deals and a per­ceived lack of re­spect for Amer­ica and its lead­ers. But stand­ing along­side the prime min­is­ters of Ja­pan and Aus­tralia in Manila yes­ter­day, he said that was all chang­ing.

“The way they’ve treated us, the re­spect that Ja­pan and China and South Korea, in par­tic­u­lar – be­cause we went there – have treated us has been re­ally a great re­spect for the peo­ple of our coun­try, the peo­ple of the United States,” he said.

“And we very much ap­pre­ci­ate it, I will say that. It was red car­pet like no­body, I think, has prob­a­bly ever re­ceived.

“And that re­ally is a sign of re­spect, per­haps, for me a lit­tle bit, but re­ally for our coun­try.”

Trump was lav­ished with praise dur­ing his time in Tokyo, Seoul and Bei­jing, in what an­a­lysts said was a de­lib­er­ate strat­egy of flat­tery.

In Ja­pan he golfed with Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe and world num­ber four Hideki Mat­suyama, and met the revered Em­peror Ak­i­hito.

In South Korea he was treated to clam­orous ap­plause dur­ing a par­lia­men­tary ad­dress, on the first state visit by a US lead- er in a quar­ter of a cen­tury.

In Bei­jing, he toured the For­bid­den City with Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping as part of an ex­trav­a­gant “state visit-plus” that also in­cluded a per­for­mance of Pek­ing Opera.

But ob­servers say the con­crete ac­com­plish­ments from the tour are few, with the ban­ner $250 bil­lion of trade agree­ments an­nounced in Bei­jing not quite what it was cracked up to be.

An analysis by Bloomberg News said the roughly 15 agree­ments are mostly non-bind­ing mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing. Many will take years to bear fruit, if they ever do.

Re­vers­ing Amer­ica’s yawn­ing $350 bil­lion trade deficit with China was a key plank of Trump’s elec­tion pledge to “Make Amer­ica Great Again” and bring jobs back to the hol­lowed out in­dus­trial heart­land that voted for him.

In Manila yes­ter­day, where he was set to at­tend meet­ings with the 10-mem­ber As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (Asean) and sev­eral other coun­tries, Trump said there would be good news once he re­turned to the White House on Wed­nes­day.

“We’ve made a lot of big progress on trade,” he told re­porters. “We have deficits with al­most ev­ery­body. Those deficits are go­ing to be cut very quickly and very sub­stan­tially.

“We’ve made some very big steps with re­spect to trade, far big­ger than any­thing you know, in ad­di­tion to about $300 bil­lion in sales to var­i­ous com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing China – that was $250 bil­lion and go­ing up very sub­stan­tially from that.”

He of­fered no de­tails, say­ing only that his an­nounce­ment would “prob­a­bly” come on Wed­nes­day.

WAT­SON/AFP JIM

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump waves as he ar­rives for the fifth US-Asean Sum­mit in Manila yes­ter­day.

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