Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Trump summons business leaders, lawmakers to White House

Published:Tuesday | January 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM
President Donald Trump speaks while hosting a breakfast with business leaders at the White House yesterday. At left is Wendell P. Weeks, chief executive officer of Corning. At right is Alex Gorsky, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson.


Opening his first official week in office, President Donald Trump warned business leaders yesterday that he would impose a "substantial border tax" on companies that move their manufacturing out of the United States, while promising tax advantages to companies that produce products domestically.

"All you have to do is stay," he said during a morning meeting in the White House's Roosevelt Room.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin were among the executives who attended the meeting. The gathering kicked off a jam-packed day for the new president, including an evening reception with lawmakers from both parties and a sit-down with union leaders.

The president also planned to sign multiple executive orders in the Oval Office. Trump had pledged to quickly use his executive authority to withdraw the US from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact agreed to under the Obama administration. He is also expected to sign an order implementing a federal government hiring freeze.

Conservatives are also eager for Trump to sign an order reinstating a ban on providing federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option. The regulation, known as the 'Mexico City Policy' or, by critics, the 'global gag rule,' has been a political volleyball, instituted by Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic ones since 1984.

Trump ran for office pledging to overhaul US trade policy, arguing that massive free-trade agreements have disadvantaged American workers. Since winning the White House, he has aggressively called out companies that have moved factories overseas, vowing to slap taxes on products they then try to sell in the US.

"Some people say that's not free trade, but we don't have free trade now," Trump said yesterday.