President Donald Trump wrapped up his swing through Asia by boasting that he inked agreements to sell $300 billion in U.S.-made goods and predicting the total value of the deals could “quadruple.”
“I think the fruits of are going to be incredible,” Trump told reporters of his dealmaking during the 12-day trip just minutes before Air Force One lifted off from the Philippines.
“We actually sold $300 billion worth of equipment and other things,” he said. “And I think that number is going to be quadrupled very quickly. So that’s over $1 trillion dollars’ worth of stuff.”
He did not specify just what Asian leaders agreed to purchase from the United States, but he plans to provide more details during a White House announcement later this week. Trump had initially said that announcement would occur Wednesday, but indicated on Tuesday it might slip a day.
I will be making a major statement from the @WhiteHouse upon my return to D.C. Time and date to be set.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 14, 2017
During the coming trade-themed remarks, Trump said he will “be going into some more details as to what we’re doing, as to what we accomplished - but, specifically, deals, concepts. And we’ll be pinpointing things.”
He then described the deals as a “minimum $300 billion” and repeated the total is likely to exceed $1 trillion. But, while bragging multiple times about those transactions, he called his deal-making “the least significant thing that we accomplished.”
“I think one of the things we really accomplished big is relationship, and also letting people know that from now on, things are going to be reciprocal,” Trump said, referring to his message to Asian leaders on trade relations.
“We can't have trade deficits of $30, $40, $50 billion; $300 billion in the case of China,” he told reporters. “We can't do that. We have to have reciprocal trade. What’s good for them is good for us.”
As a candidate, Trump ran, in large part, as a successful businessman. He cast himself as the lone candidate in the 2016 race who could negotiate better deals for the United States. He is casting his first Asia trip as a first major step toward fulfilling that campaign promise.
He also defended his attempts to have a warm relationship with the Phillippines new hardline leader, President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Philippines is an unbelievably important military location because if you speak to the admirals and you speak to the generals, that’s a perfect spot,” he said. “Strategically, we have a very important location — maybe the most important strategic location in that area. So it’s good.”