Trump flies out for Davos pushing 'America First' agenda

US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One to attend the World Economic Forum on Jan 24, 2018.
US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One to attend the World Economic Forum on Jan 24, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump flew out on Wednesday (Jan 24) to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, aiming to convince international leaders his "America First" agenda does not signal a withdrawal from the world stage.

Trump, who was not accompanied by the First Lady, departed Joint Base Andrews shortly before 9pm (10am Singapore time) on a trip that will also see him hold talks with several world leaders.

"Will soon be heading to Davos, Switzerland, to tell the world how great America is and is doing. Our economy is now booming and with all I am doing, will only get better...Our country is finally WINNING again!" he tweeted shortly before getting on the helicopter that took him to the air base.

Trump is set to speak on Friday at an annual gathering of the global pro-trade elite in a move that has raised eyebrows because of his protectionist "America First" policies.

"We're going to the World Economic Forum to share President Trump's economic story and to tell the world that America is open for business," said Trump's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn.

Trump, who has left the Paris climate change accord, abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, threatened to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) and just imposed heavy duties on imported washing machines and solar panels, will have his work cut out convincing defenders of global free trade that he is on their side.

His Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's latest comments on Wednesday - that he favoured a "weaker dollar" - risked further alienating other nations because it deviates from a long-standing agreement to avoid weakening their currency for a competitive trade advantage.

 

On the diplomatic front, Trump is scheduled to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu weeks after recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and British Prime Minister Theresa May, which comes as US-Britain relations are unusually strained.