Senior U.S. officials have retaliated against the idea that President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda was negatively impacting globalization and trade, setting an aggressive stance prior to Trump’s visit to the World Economic Forum.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that he embraced a weaker U.S. dollar, helping to push the world’s reserve currency to a three-year low against a basket of major currencies. “Obviously a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities,” Mnuchin said at a press conference.
World leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Brazilian President Michel Temer, this week have voiced concerns regarding increased protectionism in remarks that pointed towards Trump’s policies.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are also both expected to speak on Wednesday.
Under the America First agenda, Trump has made threats that the U.S. will leave the North American free-trade agreement (NAFTA), rejected the global climate change agreement and disapproved of global institutions such as the United Nations and NATO.
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President Trump is expected to arrive in Davos by Thursday and is scheduled to deliver an important speech to the forum on Friday. He will be required to socialize with the same elite “globalists” that he attacked during his 2016 presidential run.
On Wednesday, both Mnuchin and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross displayed a joint defense of Washington’s assertive trade actions in Davos and stated that there was more to come.
“This is about an America First agenda. But America First does mean working with the rest of the world,” Mnuchin said. “It just means that President Trump is looking out for American workers and American interests no different than he expects other leaders would look out for their own.”
Ross stated that the U.S. trade actions were motivated by “inappropriate behavior on the part of our trading counterparties.”