President Trump delivered a robust and forceful speech on international trade in an address Friday afternoon at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, Vietnam. Trump told Asian leaders the U.S. "will not tolerate" trade abuses and lashed out at "unfair practices."
Trump said he does not blame countries for "taking advantage" of the U.S. in trade deals, for that is their job, but he said it will no longer happen. He said the U.S. "did not do their job, but I will."
"I do not blame China or any other country, of which there are many, for taking advantage of the U.S. on trade. If their representatives are able to get away with it, then they're just doing their jobs," the president said.
"We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore," Trump declared. "I am always going to put America first, the same way I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first."
"We must ensure that all play by the rules, which they do not right now. Those who do will be our closest partners. Those who do not can be certain that the United States will no longer turn a blind eye to violations, cheating or economic aggression. Those days are over," he said.
He also called out countries that use currency manipulation to makes goods cheaper and increases the trade deficit a country has with the U.S. Trump also took a shot at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and said the U.S. has not been treated fairly.
"While we lowered market barriers, other countries didn't open their markets to us," Trump said as an example.
Trump said U.S. trade policy would never involve asking nations to surrender their sovereignty
"We will not make decisions for the purpose of power or patronage," Trump said. "We will never ask our partners to surrender their sovereignty, intellectual property, or to limit contracts to state-owned suppliers. We will find opportunities for a private sector to work with yours and to create jobs and wealth for us all. We seek strong partners, not weak partners. We seek strong neighbors, not weak neighbors. Above all, we seek friendship, And we don't dream of domination."
"We will no longer tolerate the audacious theft of intellectual property, we will confront the destructive practices of forcing businesses to surrender their technologies to the state and forcing them into joint ventures in exchange for market access," he said.