Washington, Feb 23 (EFE).- President Donald Trump said Thursday that he will focus his economic and trade policy on “bringing back” jobs to the country, saying that many of those jobs, in particular in manufacturing sectors, have gone to countries like China and Mexico and “they have to come back.”
“My administration’s policies and regulatory reform, tax reform, trade policies will return significant manufacturing jobs to our country,” Trump told reporters at the beginning of a White House meeting with executives from more than 20 large US manufacturing firms.
“Everything is going to be based on bringing our jobs back, the good jobs, the real jobs. They’ve left, and they’re coming back. They have to come back,” Trump said.
According to the president, “one-third” of the country’s manufacturing jobs have been lost since the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed by the US, Canada and Mexico in 1994, although official statistics show that the decline in that sector began decades before the pact was signed.
In addition, Trump insisted once again on Thursday that the US trade deficit with Mexico totals $70 billion annually, something he called “unsustainable” and which “doesn’t include the drugs that pour across the border, like water.”
“We’re going to have a good relationship with Mexico, I hope. And if we don’t, we don’t. But we can’t let that happen – $70 billion in trade deficits,” the president said.
Trump also said that he had told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is on an official visit to Mexico with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, that the trip would be “tough” because “we have to be treated fairly” by our southern neighbor.
With regard to China, Trump said that “70,000 (US) factories” have closed since the US joined the World Trade Organization 16 years ago.
Trump promised during his presidential campaign that, if elected, he would recover US jobs that have been lost, and he made clear in his inaugural address that his administration will follow two “simple” economic rules: buying American products and hiring American workers.
Beyond that, however, Trump has not yet provided many details about how he intends to fulfill that promise.
Still pending, for example, is the presentation of a program to renew US infrastructure, a plan to replace former President Barack Obama’s health care reform, which Trump blames in part for the loss of jobs, tax reform and the budget bill for the coming fiscal year.
Newly confirmed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday told CNBC that the White House is working on a very significant tax reform package, adding that he was sure that Congress will approve it before next August.
Attending the meeting with Trump on Thursday were CEOs from – among other firms – Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Whirlpool, Ford, GE, Caterpillar and Lockheed Martin.