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

"I'm going to Davos right now to get people to invest into the United States", Trump said Wednesday.

The Trump team has come to Davos to take a victory lap after passage of a major reduction in USA taxes and a rollback in regulations.

The US has warned that there is "more to come" on trade tariffs.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, also in Davos, staunchly defended Monday's tariffs announcement and said Washington would not flinch from reprisals against countries that flout the rules.

Asked if he was concerned about sparking a trade war, Ross said: "Trade war has been in place for quite a little while, the difference is the US troops are now coming to the ramparts". "We believe that we must cooperate, that protectionism is not the correct answer". The tax cut "will be good for the short-term, but it doesn't fix the fundamental problems" in the USA economy.

At an annual gathering of top business and political leaders in Davos, CEOs are actively selling the Trump tax plan to skeptics and fighting back on the public perception that the Republican tax bill was just for the rich.

Trump is the first sitting USA president to attend the Davos summit since Bill Clinton went in 2000. But privately, they consider him a global wild card and bristle at his efforts to build walls, figuratively and literally, against immigration and free trade.

Trump will deliver a speech to the gathered leaders on Friday in which he is expected to tout his economic agenda of tax cuts and deregulation.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel "stole the show" at Davos already, Kaplan added, after the European leaders used separate speeches on Wednesday to push back hard against the Trump manifesto.

South Africa's Ministerial delegation has participated actively in a range of discussion platforms and bilateral meetings with global public and private sector leadership who have existing interests in or are exploring new opportunities in South Africa as a leading emerging market.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said new barriers to trade could pose a danger on a par with climate change and extremist attacks.

As the abrasive USA leader prepared to arrive in town on Thursday, the European heavyweights stepped up to position themselves as a counterweight to his "America First" agenda.

His meeting with Netanyahu will be their first since Trump announced the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital last month.

"From this day forward, a new vision will govern...it's going to be only America first, America first", Trump said. "The difference is the United States troops are now coming to the ramparts", he added.

The tariffs, of up to 50%, prompted an outcry from China and South Korea, the primary targets of the measure.

Ross was more adversarial in addressing the matter: "There's a lot of free trade rhetoric from other countries, but in fact their behavior is quite protectionist", he said.

Mnuchin said that once the "U.K.is ready, we are prepared to negotiate an attractive trade deal".

Trump's selling points - a strengthening US economy and an offer of renegotiated trade arrangements - may not go as far as he thinks, said former Obama special adviser David Axelrod. Delegates include Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser. Reportedly a U.S. -European working group will convene to see how the nuclear agreement can be strengthened and what to do with Iran's ballistic missile program.

  • Joanne Flowers