DANANG, Vietnam – US President Donald Trump said on Friday during a speech to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum that he would seek bilateral trade agreements based on fairness and reciprocity while rejecting large multinational deals.
Trump criticized the World Trade Organization for its failure to enforce rules and ensure trade equality, adding that large-scale trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership “tied our hands and surrendered our sovereignty.”
Trump pulled the US out of the TPP soon after taking office in January this year.
In his speech to delegates in Danang, Trump pledged to agree to “bilateral trade agreements with any Indo-Pacific nation that wants to be our partner and that will abide by the principles of fair and reciprocal trade.”
“Many opportunities for mutually beneficial investments were lost because people could not trust the system. We can no longer tolerate these chronic trade abuses, and we will not tolerate them,” the president said.
He also criticized previous US leaders for making agreements that harmed US interests, and promised that his administration would not allow countries “to take advantage of the United States.”
Trump arrived in the Vietnamese port city on Friday after a working visit to Beijing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was also scheduled to address the APEC Forum later on Friday.