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January 26, 2018

Matthews on CGTN TV: Trump in Davos

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Merrill Matthews joined a roundtable discussion on CGTN’s “The Heat” to discuss President Trump’s “America First” message to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Matthews analyzed Trump’s rhetoric which included a desire to work with other countries along with an assurance to look out for America’s interests. “I think it’s obvious every leader of a country puts their country first,” said Matthews. “If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be a leader of your country very long. It doesn’t mean you don’t work with others, it just means it is a natural progression of you putting your own interests first."

When asked about the Trump administration’s decision to unilaterally levy tariffs on foreign solar panels and washing machines, Matthews responded, “Trump has said he wants free trade, but it has to be ‘fair.’  He has never defined ‘fair.’ So none of us actually know what ‘fair’ means.”

Matthews also said Trump’s preference for trade agreements which are bilateral over multilateral (such as the Trans Pacific Partnership) makes a certain amount of sense. “If you’re the biggest economy in the world and everybody wants access to your markets and your consumers, you can probably negotiate better agreements if it’s just one-on-one.”

One final takeaway from Davos is the new tax reform bill which has suddenly made the U.S. competitive in the global economy. "The tax reform bill has lowered our corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent," said Matthews. "That’s got to have a lot of countries concerned that companies may be moving back to the U.S."

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