Trump Talks 'America First' In Asia

Wendy Cutler on NPR's Weekend Edition

President Donald J. Trump particiaptes in the APEC Summit | November 11, 20

U.S. President Donald J. Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang at the APEC Summit in Vietnam on November 11, 2017. (The White House / Flickr)

On November 11, 2017, ASPI Vice President Wendy Cutler spoke with NPR’s Scott Simon about President Donald Trump’s "America first" speech at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Vietnam.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership countries’ decision to move ahead with the agreement without the United States shows that they are prioritizing multilateral over bilateral trade deals. According to Cutler, the eleven countries believe that there are “greater benefits” associated with multilateral deals because they have “more impact” and involve “more markets. “If Japan has a 38 percent tariff on beef, that tariff will go away for the 11 or 10 other countries but not for us,” Cutler said, stressing that ultimately this “makes [U.S.] products less competitive.”

While Cutler lauds Trump’s statements on reducing market entry barriers for American companies and protecting intellectual property vis-à-vis China, she says that Xi Jinping’s championing of “open trade” and “multilateral trade deals” in his APEC speech indicates that he intends to fill the leadership vacuum left by Trump’s ‘America first’ rhetoric. (4 min., 18 sec.)

Listen to the interview.

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