Wednesday October 17th, 2018 11:23PM

Talking tough on trade, Trump pushes 'America first' in Asia

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

DANANG, Vietnam (AP) — President Donald Trump stood before a summit of Asian leaders keen on regional trade pacts and delivered a roaring "America first" message Friday, denouncing China for unfair trade practices just a day after he had heaped praise on President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

"We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore," Trump told CEOs on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference. "I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first."

The president — who pulled the United States out of the Pacific Rim trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership — said the U.S. would no longer join "large agreements that tie our hands, surrender our sovereignty and make meaningful enforcement practically impossible."

Instead, he said, the U.S. will pursue one-on-one trade deals with other nations that pledge fair and reciprocal trade.

As for China, Trump said he'd spoken "openly and directly" with Xi about the nation's abusive trade practices and "the enormous trade deficits they have produces with the United States."

It was a stark change in tone from the day before, when Trump was Xi's guest of honor during a state visit in Beijing. There, Trump opted for flattering Xi and blaming past U.S. presidents for the trade deficit.

Trump said China's trade surplus, which stood at $223 billion for the first 10 months of the year, was unacceptable. He repeated his language from Thursday, when he said he did "not blame China" or any other country "for taking advantage of the United States on trade."

But Trump added forceful complaints about "the audacious theft of intellectual property," ''massive subsidizing of industries through colossal state-owned enterprises," and American companies being targeted by "state-affiliated actors for economic gain."

U.S. officials have raised similar concerns in the past about China, especially with regard to intellectual property.

Behind the scenes, White House officials quietly negotiated with the Kremlin over whether Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin would hold a formal meeting on the sidelines in Danang, with the Russians raising expectations for such a session.

As speculation built, the two sides tried to craft the framework of a deal that Trump and Putin could announce in a formal bilateral meeting, according to two administration officials not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions.

Though North Korea and the Ukraine had been discussed, the two sides focused on trying to strike an agreement about a path to resolve Syria's civil war once the Islamic State group is defeated, according to officials. But the talks stalled and, just minutes before Air Force One touched down in Vietnam, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the meeting was off.

When asked about the outcome, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later snapped at reporters: "Why are you asking me? Ask the Americans."

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that even without a formal meeting, "Both presidents are in town, and their paths will cross one way or another."

That they did Friday night during the summit's welcome gala: The two men, each wearing traditional Vietnamese shifts, shook hands and greeted one another as they stood side-by-side for the group photo of world leaders.

Leaders of the 11 remaining nations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership — representing roughly 13.5 percent of the global economy — had been expected to meet on the sidelines of the APEC summit to seek an agreement in principle that would not require U.S. involvement.

But the prospects of that deal appeared in doubt Friday as the meeting was delayed. Separately, a 16-member region-wide pact called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership was also under negotiation. It encompasses China and India but also does not include the U.S.


Follow Colvin on Twitter at and Lemire at

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2018
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Talking tough on trade, Trump pushes 'America first' in Asia
Trump says U.S. will not be "taken advantage of anymore" when it comes to trade
2:18PM ( 16 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump, world leaders coordinate shirts for photo
World leaders, including President Donald Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin, donned matching dark blue silk button-down shirts at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam
2:17PM ( 16 minutes ago )
The Latest: UN chief to urge action at climate conference
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to urge leaders at climate talks to accelerate timetable for cutting emissions
2:11PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Sexual misconduct accusations transform Alabama Senate race
Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is denying allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct with minors, roiling Alabama's Senate race
1:34PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Lebanon minister says probe 'libelous' Saudis
Lebanon's Justice Minister has asked the country's prosecutor general to launch an investigation against two Saudi citizens who appeared on a TV talk show and branded the Lebanese president and parliament speakers as "terrorists."
1:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
Top Catalan lawmaker freed from jail after posting bail
A top Catalan lawmaker who spent the night in a Madrid prison as part of a wide-ranging rebellion investigation stemming from the Spanish region's declaration of independence has been released after posting bail
12:06PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Sri Lanka govt faces pressure over torture, rape allegations
Sri Lanka is coming under increasing pressure to answer for allegations surrounding human rights abuse allegations
1:34PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: NATO defends opposition to UN nuclear ban treaty
NATO official defends alliance's opposition to a new U.N. treaty calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons
1:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
Russia named as likely source of Europe radioactivity spike
The French nuclear safety agency says it thinks an apparently minor accident at a Russian facility caused a recent spike in radioactivity in the air over much of Europe
1:04PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
The Latest: Louis C.K. expresses remorse for behavior
The Latest: Comedian Louis C.K. says allegations of sexual misconduct are true and expresses remorse.
1:38PM ( 56 minutes ago )
Space station getting delivery from Virginia for a change
International Space Station is getting a delivery shipped from Virginia for a change
12:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
US stocks head lower as health care companies plunge
US stocks are down for a second day as health care companies take sharp losses
12:02PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Health care and technology losses take US stocks lower
US stocks are down for a second day as health care and technology companies post losses
10:28AM ( 4 hours ago )
Accord on revised Pacific Rim trade pact stalled
Agreement on a Pacific Rim trade pact stalls as Canada balks at proposed deal
9:57AM ( 4 hours ago )
Polish far-right march goes global, drawing people from afar
Fascists and other far-right extremists are set to assemble in Warsaw for a march that has become one of the largest gatherings in Europe for increasingly emboldened white supremacists
9:05AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
The Latest: UN chief to urge action at climate conference
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to urge leaders at climate talks to accelerate timetable for cutting emissions
2:11PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Jerry Jones: Objection to Goodell deal not about Elliott ban
Cowboys owner says objection to extension for Goodell is not tied to Elliott's six-game ban
2:05PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Louis C.K. says he misused his power and 'brought pain'
Comedian Louis C.K. says allegations of sexual misconduct are true and expresses remorse.
1:57PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Weinstein's Impact: List of men accused of sexual misconduct
The Weinstein Effect: A list of men in the entertainment and media industries accused of sexual harassment, abuse, or other misconduct
1:54PM ( 40 minutes ago )
The Latest: Church will be turned into temporary memorial
The sanctuary of the small-town Texas church where a gunman carried out a massacre will be turned into a temporary memorial for the more than two dozen victims
1:41PM ( 53 minutes ago )