President Donald Trump Addresses A Joint Session Of Congress: “A New Chapter Of American Greatness Is Now Beginning”

President Donald Trump has addressed a joint session of the United States Congress, undertaking to deliver on his campaign promises. The soaring speech has been described by some commentators as marking the moment Trump assumed the mantle of the presidency.

Trump

Trump maintained his commitment to repealing the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – and reiterated many of his election campaign themes to “drain the swamp” in Washington DC.

Trump said “ninety-four million Americans are out of the labour force”. He outlined a one trillion dollar infrastructure program he will submit to Congress. He said: “I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be FAIR TRADE.” He said his motto would be to “buy American and hire American”.

The president reiterated his commitment to building a “great wall” along the border with Mexico. He lauded the process of “extreme vetting” of immigrants.

Trump committed himself to America’s allies, “but our partners must meet their financial obligations”.

The speech offered no proposals on spending or taxation, or on deficit reduction. Trump said his economic team was working on “historic reform” to taxation and he pledged a big reduction in company tax.

Trump honoured the widow of a Navy Seal, William “Ryan” Owens, killed in a raid in Yemen. He said, “Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero –- battling against terrorism and securing our Nation.” The tribute led to an unprecedentedly lengthy standing ovation for Carryn Owens.

  • Listen to Trump’s speech (62m)
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Prepared text of President Donald Trump’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress.

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and Citizens of America:

Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains. Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms. [Read more…]


Malaysia Free Trade Agreement Comes Into Force

A free trade agreement with Malaysia comes into force today.

The treaty is known as MAFTA, the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

It is the seventh free trade agreement Australia has entered into. The others are with Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and the multiparty ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA.

Text of a media release from the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness, Craig Emerson

Free Trade Agreement with Malaysia in Force

EmersonAustralia’s ground-breaking free trade agreement with Malaysia enters into force today, opening up opportunities for exporters and investors across most sectors.

From today, 97.6 per cent of Australian goods currently exported to Malaysia are eligible for tariff-free treatment, rising to 99 per cent in 2017.

Service providers – including universities, schools, banks, insurers, telecoms companies and accountancy firms – will also benefit, with increased access to the Malaysian market and an easing of rules on control of Malaysian businesses. [Read more…]


The Future of Trade Policy in an Uncertain World: Emerson

The Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson, has delivered a speech on trade in which he reasserted the Labor Party’s commitment to free trade, open markets and competition.

Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson

Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson

Addressing the Lowy Institute, Emerson said the Labor Party’s guiding philosophy of economic reform “has been a commitment to markets and competition”. He said the “presumption must be that competition is good, more competition is better and markets are better than governments in allocating scare resources”. [Read more…]


Howard Defends Free Trade Agreement With U.S.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has strongly defended the proposed Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

Speaking at a press conference in Canberra, Howard fielded questions on sugar, local content rules in television, and the possibility of a flood of American imports.

  • Listen to Howard’s press conference (26m)

Transcript of John Howard’s press conference.

PRIME MINISTER:

Everybody, welcome back. I haven’t seen you, or most of you for ages. Well ladies and gentlemen, I’ve called this news conference to announce that Cabinet has given broad approval, in principle – which is all one can do at this stage – at the negotiated Free Trade Agreement concluded yesterday in Washington between Australia and the United States.

Let me start by congratulating Mark Vaile and all the other members of the negotiating team who did such an outstanding job. And in particular, I want to add to my thanks to Mark, Steve Deady the head negotiator, Ashton Calvert the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. And also Michael Thawley the Australian Ambassador in Washington who’s been an indefatigable champion of this agreement now the whole time that he’s been our representative in the United States. [Read more…]


Minor Parties Oppose US Free Trade Agreement

The Australian Democrats and the Australian Greens have each expressed opposition to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.

The proposed agreement has been the subject of discussion between the Prime Minister, John Howard, and the US President, George W. Bush, over the weekend.

Bush has said he wants to reach agreement on a FTA this year and send it to Congress for approval next year. International treaties have to be approved by the United States Senate. No such constitutional requirement exists in Australia. An executive government decision here is sufficient for Australia to become a signatory to a free trade agreement. [Read more…]


George W. Bush Commits To Free Trade With Latin America

This is the text of excerpts from a speech delivered by George W. Bush at Florida International University in Miami.

The remarks point to the importance of trading blocs in the global economy and their strategic defence implications.

Speech by George W. Bush at Florida International University, Miami.

Should I become president, I will look south, not as an afterthought, but as a fundamental commitment of my presidency. Just as we ended the great divide between East and West, so today we can overcome the North-South divide. [Read more…]


Opening Markets: Does It Benefit Australia

This is a booklet from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the benefits of moving towards freer trade by opening markets. [Read more…]