Trump declares US trade ‘rules have changed’


MANILA • US President Donald Trump ended his swing through Asia, hailing progress toward his goal of reducing the US trade deficit.

Trump took off from Manila aboard Air Force One yesterday, skipping the final session of meetings hosted by the Association of South- East Asian Nations. The trip, which included stops in Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam, brought Trump in contact with dozens of leaders, including the heads of Asia’s five biggest economies and a brief encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“After my tour of Asia, all countries dealing with us on TRADE know that the rules have changed,” Trump said on Twitter yesterday. “The US has to be treated fairly and in a reciprocal fashion.

The massive TRADE deficits must go down quickly!” The president spent the bulk of his public appearances emphasising the need to reduce trade deficits, and also pushed for Asian nations to buy US military equipment. He publicly advocated his “America first” policies, warning US trading partners that he was ready to take more protectionist steps in a bid to help American businesses and workers.

Trump announced on Twitter that he will be making a “major statement” when he returns to Washington.

But while Trump made rhetorical waves during his first visit to the region as president, questions about how much he actually achieved continue to linger.