By Ray Downs – UPI
President Donald Trump took the stage at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam Friday and said the United States will no longer “be taken advantage of” through trade agreements.
“The U.S. is prepared to work with its Asian allies to achieve mutually beneficial commerce,” Trump said. “I will make bilateral trade agreements with any Indo-Pacific nation that will abide by fair and reciprocal trade. What we will no longer do is enter into large agreements that surrender our sovereignty.”
Trump’s speech largely focused on how countries should exercise their national sovereignty and get the best trade deals they can for their citizens, which he said is a principle that U.S. leaders haven’t followed.
The president also blamed other countries and the World Trade Organization for not following conditions set out in current agreements.
“Organizations like the WTO can only function properly when all members follow the rules and respect the sovereign rights of every member. We cannot achieve open markets if we do not ensure fair market access. In the end, unfair trade undermines us all,” Trump said. “The United States promoted private enterprise, innovation and industry.
“Other countries use government-run industrial planning and state-owned enterprises. We adhere to WTO principles on protecting intellectual property and ensuring fair market access. they engaged in product dumping, subsidized goods, currency manipulation and predatory industrial policies.
“Such practices, along with our collective failure to respond to them, hurt many people in our country, and also, other countries. Jobs, factories and industries were stripped out of the United States.”
Trump’s speech ended with a call for patriotism to all nations.
“Finally, let us never forget the world has many places, many dreams, and many roads. But in all of the world, there is no place like home,” he said. “Protect your home, defend your home, love your home.”
Trump is a week into his 12-day Asia trip. Saturday, he will hold bilateral talks with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi. Sunday, he travels to the Philippines to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and meet with President Rodrigo Duterte.