Trump’s trade agenda

05 May 2017

US president Donald Trump’s push for free trade agreements was not protectionism, but a drive for fairer deals, DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told delegates at the Arab Media Forum.

As reported by The National, Mr Sulayem was referring to Trump’s desire to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico when he said: “I am not so pessimistic on Mr Trump’s move to look into free trade agreements.

“Mr Trump is a businessman and I don’t think that he will do anything that harms businesses and trade across the world.”

However, Enrique Razon, Philippine billionaire and ICTSI port operator, has expressed a more cynical view of Mr Trump’s approach to trade policies. In an interview with Bloomberg, Mr Razon said that Mr Trump’s unpredictability and nationalist policies have become “the biggest risk in global trade”.

“There are dark clouds gathering,” he continued. “The US has created the largest part of the uncertainty in an already uncertain future... While Trump has backtracked on some positions, he keeps changing what he is saying. I don’t even know if his people know exactly what he is really going to do.”

Still, Mr Razon revealed to Bloomberg that his company is willing to invest between $500m and $1bn to build a terminal in every country in western and eastern Africa, a continent he considers to be the most immune to any globalisation shifts.

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