The Latest: Trump to tell Davos the US ‘open for business’

January 23, 2018 GMT
People gather during the demonstration "Trump not welcome!" against the upcoming visit of US President Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, in the streets of Zurich, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (Ennio Leanza/Keystone via AP)
People gather during the demonstration "Trump not welcome!" against the upcoming visit of US President Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, in the streets of Zurich, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (Ennio Leanza/Keystone via AP)

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The latest on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (all times local):

11:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump plans to meet with world leaders, dine with business executives and declare America “open for business” during his trip to the Davos summit.

White House officials said Tuesday the president is going to the World Economic Forum to promote his economic policies. He departs Wednesday and arrives in Switzerland on Thursday.

Trump meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday. There is a reception in his honor that night and he will host a small dinner for European companies.

On Friday, he meets with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Swiss President Alain Berset, before delivering a keynote address.

Top Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn says the president is going to Davos to “tell the world that America is open for business.”



9 p.m.

A former aide to four U.S. presidents says he expects Donald Trump to use his visit to Davos to “ramp-up” for his State of the Union speech as well as to tout America’s economic prospects.

David Gergen, co-director of Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership, said Trump has a “fundamental choice” to make regarding his World Economic Forum speech on Friday.

Gergen says that’s “whether he’s speaking to a global audience as an internationalist, or whether he’s speaking to his base back home.”

He said Tuesday: “So far, when he’s been in an international setting such as the U.N., he’s very much aimed his message at the base: That will not go over well here.”

Gergen worked in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton White Houses. He says it’s good that Trump is bring a big team to Davos, but “the real question is going to be the message.”


8:30 p.m.

Hundreds of protesters, some with their faces covered, are marching in Switzerland’s largest city to denounce the World Economic Forum and the planned visit of President Donald Trump to Davos.

With a phalanx of shield-bearing security forces keeping watch, the marchers in Zurich are chanting slogans, clapping and waving flags with anti-capitalist messages on them. One at the front read: “Dump the Trump,” and others said simply: “Smash WEF.”

A few pops that sounded like firecrackers echoed out and police had water cannons deployed along the route of the march, but there was no immediate sign of any violence.

The protest is the latest and potentially most combative among a few anti-Trump protests since the White House announced his attendance at the conference of business leaders, government and U.N. officials, and other decision-makers this week in Davos.



7:45 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says corporate leaders should consider gender-balanced boards.

Trudeau made woman’s rights and gender equality a focus of his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The prime minister named women to half the positions in his cabinet in 2015 and his succinct “Because it’s 2015” explanation for the move attracted international attention.

Trudeau says the #MeToo movement shows the need to have a critical discussion on women’s rights, equality, and the power. The movement has been credited with unveiling widespread sexual abuse and misconduct.

He says gender equality will be a focus of the G-7 Summit in Canada later this year.


6:50 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is working to convince the U.S. of the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The government of U.S. President Donald Trump is in talks to revise NAFTA and threatened to withdraw from it, saying it puts the U.S. at a disadvantage.

Trudeau told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: “We’re working very hard to make sure that our neighbor to the south recognizes how good NAFTA is and that it’s benefited not just our economy but his economy and the world’s economy.”

He added that Canada is open also to trade deals involving more countries.

Seventy-five percent of Canada’s trade goes to the U.S.


6 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada and 10 other countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement.

The deal comes exactly one year after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the agreement.

The agreement follows two days of high-level talks in Tokyo and was confirmed by Canadian International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. The partners are now expected to work toward signing the agreement by early March.

Trudeau told a crowd at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the pact meets Canada’s objectives of creating and sustaining growth, prosperity and well-paying middle-class jobs today and for generations to come.

The agreement comes amid worries that Trump will pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade deal. Seventy-five percent of Canada’s trade goes to the U.S.


5:10 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump will not accompany U.S. President Donald Trump to a global summit in Davos this week.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Tuesday that due to “scheduling and logistical issues,” Mrs. Trump will not attend.

The White House had previously said she would accompany the president on the trip to the annual summit in a Swiss Alpine resort.

A government shutdown had threated to upend the trip, but it is back on with the government reopening.

A Cabinet delegation was expected to leave Tuesday and the president later in the week. The president is set to address the gathering Friday.


5 p.m.

The World Economic Forum can be a fairly sober event. But on the sidelines it’s packed with interactive exhibits showcasing a particular trend or problem.

One exhibit this year is a 12-minute excerpt of a virtual reality production, Zero Days VR, produced by studio Scatter and based on a 2016 Alex Gibney documentary, Zero Days.

It’s about cyberwarfare, specifically about a computer virus called Stuxnet suspected to have been made by the U.S. and Israel to destroy Iranian centrifuges. Delegates are taken on a ride showing the discovery of the virus, how it works and moves through a computer network and ultimately how it affects the centrifuges.

Director Yasmin Elayat says the WEF found out about the VR film last year from the Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered, and think the film can highlight the stakes in cybersecurity in “an innovative way.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has walked past a couple of occasions. Elayat said she would really “love for him to come see it.”


3:30 p.m.

While some Davos notables had words of praise about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech, Christine Lagarde was more curt: “I would have loved to hear a bit more about girls.”

The harrumphing quip from the IMF managing director testified to sensitivity on gender inequality that World Economic Forum organizers have been trying to address: Lagarde is one of seven on a new all-woman cast of co-chairs of the Davos meeting this year.

This year’s Davos forum has the event’s highest-ever proportion of women participants, though they still only make up a bit more than one in five attendees.

Another of those co-chairs, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, praised Modi for criticizing protectionism and calling for respect of the rule of law.

And former U.S. Vice President Al Gore gushed: “Prime Minister Modi made climate change the No. 1 priority. On that, I thought he did extremely well.”


2:25 p.m.

A leading British investment manager says that a catastrophic IT crash that puts markets out of action for several days could be the catalyst to another financial crisis.

Anna Richards, chief executive of London-based M&G Investments, says the next financial crisis is unlikely to emerge from a geopolitical event, as markets are used to dealing with such events on a regular basis.

More worrying for Richards are the technological innovations that have fundamentally altered the way markets operate and that investors are “somewhat blind to.”

She told the World Economic Forum: “We all have businesses which are absolutely reliant on a very small number of people who provide the pipes that effectively we all put our business though.”

How markets react if no one could trade for “one, two or three days” would be “kind of interesting,” she added.


1:50 p.m.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says India’s economy would more than double and touch $5 trillion by 2025.

Modi made the comments in his keynote speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Speaking in Hindi, Modi added that when an Indian prime minister was in Davos last in 1997 India’s GDP was a “little more than $400 billion and now two decades later it’s about six times that amount.”

He said that his government was committed to boosting economic growth and reducing bureaucratic hurdles to doing business in India. He said his government was committed to making the economy attractive for investment.


1 p.m.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says his government is committed to working to save the environment and alleviating the impact of climate change.

Modi said Tuesday that his government had set itself the ambitious target of producing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. In the past three years India has been able to produce about 60GW of renewable energy.

He made the comments as he delivered the keynote address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Modi added that the developed world needed to do more to help poorer nations combat the effects of climate change.

Modi said that while everyone talked about reducing carbon emissions, very few developed countries backed that up by helping developing nations like India with resources to adopt appropriate new technologies to that end.


12:10 p.m.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the recent wave of trade protectionism, in which governments raise barriers to free trade between nations, is “worrisome.”

Modi delivered the warning in a speech Tuesday just hours after the U.S. government of President Donald Trump approved tariffs on imported solar-energy components and large washing machines in a bid to help U.S. manufacturers.

In a keynote address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Modi said that “forces of protectionism are raising their heads against globalization.” Without directly mentioning Trump or the U.S., he said “the solution to this worrisome situation against globalization is not isolation.”

He quoted Mohandas Gandhi: “I don’t want the windows of my house to be closed from all directions. I want the winds of cultures of all countries to enter my house with aplomb and go out also.”


11:35 a.m.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is drawing a crowd in Davos.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore have poured into a Davos ballroom to hear the Indian leader’s keynote speech for the World Economic Forum this year.

Swiss President Alain Berset set up the stage for Modi, appealing to the hundreds of people in the crowd: “Let us make 2018 a year in which we overcome the phase of hand-wringing and self-criticism, in which each of us works to promote social inclusion.”


11:15 a.m.

An expert on global financial crises is downplaying fears that the world is set for another downturn.

A decade on from the last crash, Professor Kenneth Rogoff from Harvard University says there is “no plan A” to deal with another crisis given that interest rates remain at super-low levels and public finances remain stretched.

However, Rogoff told an audience at the World Economic Forum that financial crises have a “long afterlife” and that “we’re actually at the tail-end of the last one.”

Fears have risen recently that the global economy may be heading for another downturn, with many worried about the scale of gains in global stock markets and even the huge volatility in trading of virtual currencies like Bitcoin.

Still, he said China is the country that’s exhibiting many of the characteristics of a “typical financial crisis building up.”


10:35 a.m.

A German business leader is warning U.S. President Donald Trump that his decision to slap tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines will backfire.

On Monday, Trump approved the tariffs in a bid to help domestic manufacturers.

However, Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL, told an audience at the World Economic Forum Tuesday that the move will hurt exactly those who Trump is ostensibly trying to help.

He said: “Even if the U.S. does more protectionism, consumers will buy from different places and who pays the bill? All the employees in the U.S. finally.”

Tidjane Thiam, the CEO of Swiss bank Credit Suisse, said he remains bullish on global trade despite the tariffs decision.

He said: “We will need to see how it impacts global trade, how other trading blocs react to that, but I remain optimistic. I think we are in exceptionally favorable context.”


9:55 a.m.

Stock markets around the world are flying high amid a synchronized global upturn but a leading U.S. investor is warning of a potential “reckoning.”

Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of Blackstone, told an audience at the World Economic Forum that the markets have responded to a positive global economic growth story. It is, he said, a time of “enormous ebullience.”

However, he said there are “lurking” geopolitical risks out there that could put the knock markets off track and there will come a time when some of these problems are “not contained.”

U.S. stock markets have been in particularly strong, with the Dow Jones industrial average hitting a run of record highs on the back of confidence around the U.S. economy and President Donald Trump’s big tax reform package.


6 a.m.

The World Economic Forum officially gets underway Tuesday with Indian leader Narendra Modi delivering the keynote speech.

Modi was meant to be the event’s highlight until President Donald Trump decided to come as well. Trump is due to speak Friday, though the U.S. government shutdown has put his presence in doubt.

There will be much interest in Modi, who follows on from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s address to the global elite at last year’s event. Xi portrayed his country as a champion of free trade on the same week Trump was inaugurated president.

Modi will likely tout India’s economic successes and stress that his country is also open for business.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is later due to address the Davos crowd, which is gathering in unusually heavy snowfall.