‘Trump Factor’ comes to Davos as president enters second year in office

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As world leaders gather in Davos this week, there is no doubt that the overpowering presence of US President Donald Trump has preceded his actual arrival.

The media was abuzz when the White House confirmed his attendance, waiting to see how Trump will use this global platform to promote his “America First” agenda, which is widely expected. And, not to be one to enter without fanfare, one of the largest official delegations will be accompanying Trump during his visit, where he is expected to give a highly anticipated speech on Friday.

At first glance, it was surprising that Donald Trump would be the second sitting US President to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos after Bill Clinton, who attended 18 years ago during the last year of his term. That is because he stands for protectionism, while the soul of Davos is centered on globalization. But, then again, you can easily argue that it might be the ideal platform to mingle with the world’s elite, something Trump is no stranger to, and to set the stage for future deals and investments that aim to benefit US companies and the American economy.

Trump’s participation at the World Economic Forum comes as he enters his second year in office. But last year, as he was on the other side of the Atlantic preparing for his inauguration, WEF was buzzing about his surprise election. So, as his first year comes to a close, how did his “America First” agenda play out?

To begin with, it seems that his policies were more moderate than he originally called for during his campaign.

On trade, he did sign an executive order to withdraw from the TPP but has opted to renegotiate the NAFTA agreement. He is also renegotiating a South Korea trade deal after originally wanting to withdraw from it. Trump has also not imposed his proposed 45% tariff on Chinese imports nor his 20% tariff on Mexican imports, until now at least.

And, even though, Donald Trump withdrew America from the Paris Climate Agreement, he vaguely indicated earlier this year that there might be room to renegotiate the terms.

As for Trump’s new tax law, it reduced corporate tax from 35% to 21% and encouraged American companies to bring overseas cash back home. These tax cuts were welcomed by the Davos elite who believe that this will encourage companies to look more to the US for investment opportunities.

The US economy itself has also shown signs of improvement under Trump. Economic growth was 3% in the second and third quarters of last year, wages are up and unemployment has decreased from 4.8% to 4.1% over the course of his first year in office.

So, as he addresses the global power brokers gathered here, Trump will make headlines whatever he says. And, love him or hate him, it’s hard to resist the power of his presence.

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