Trump to argue ‘America First’ at World Economic Forum in Davos

Donald Trump will be the first US president to attend Davos since Bill Clinton, who attended in 2000. (AP)
Updated 10 January 2018

Trump to argue ‘America First’ at World Economic Forum in Davos

DUBAI: President Donald Trump will be the first White House incumbent for 18 years to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos later this month after he agreed to attend the glittering gathering of the world elite in the Swiss Alpine town.

A statement from the president’s official spokesperson said: “The president welcomes opportunities to advance his America First agenda with world leaders. At this year’s WEF, the president looks forward to promoting his policies to strengthen American businesses, American industries and American workers.”

The US leader’s stance of “America First” on economic issues is often regarded as at odds with the globalist, free-market emphasis espoused by business and world leaders at Davos, while his populist political ambition to “drain the swamp” of corporatist business interests would appear to run contrary to the establishment elitism on show.

But WEF officials are privately happy that President Trump has accepted an invitation to attend. “There were long discussions with him before he took office, and he and his team are under no illusions that it is simply a gathering of the world’s elite,” said one WEF official who did not want to be named.

“It is an economic forum after all, and you could not imagine he would not want to take that opportunity to talk about issues like his tax reform laws to a global business audience. If he wants to bring investment and jobs to America, Davos is the place to meet the people who are going to do that,” he added.

The Trump presence in Davos will also shine more light on the affairs of the Middle East, insiders believe. “He can be expected to say some things about the region, given the situation in Iran,” said the official.

The US president is due to decide soon whether to continue to waive sanctions against Iran under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has been the scene of demonstrations against government policies in recent weeks.

Arabian Gulf countries are preparing to send senior-level teams of delegates to Davos. Saudi Arabia has accepted an invitation on behalf of senior policymakers, in addition to official WEF partners like Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).

The UAE also traditionally send a top level team of government officials and senior business leaders to Davos.

The theme of WEF 2018 is “creating a shared future in a fractured world.” The New York Times — a committed critic of the president and his policies — said that some members of the president’s team were “befuddled” by his planned trip, coming a year after his team decided not to send a representative to the 2017 gathering.

Last year the US was officially represented by outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden. Trump’s official inauguration took place during the Davos meeting.

The last US president to attend Davos was Bill Clinton, who was at Davos in 2000, and who has been at the WEF in a private capacity a number of times since.

Neither President Bush nor President Obama attended a WEF annual meeting. The WEF official said: “Davos falls at a busy time in American politics, with the State of the Union address from the president coming about the same time.”

Russia vows cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced

Updated 21 November 2019

Russia vows cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced

  • Moscow not aiming to be world’s No.1 crude producer, Putin tells annual investment forum

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have “a common goal” of keeping the oil market balanced and predictable, and Moscow will continue cooperation under the global supply curbs deal.

OPEC meets on Dec. 5 in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other exporters, including Russia, known as OPEC+.

“Our (common with OPEC) goal is for the market to be balanced, acceptable for producers and consumers and the most important — and I want to underline this — predictable,” Putin told a forum on Wednesday.

In October, Russia cut its oil output to 11.23 million barrels per day (bpd) from 11.25 million bpd in September but it was still higher than a 11.17-11.18 million bpd cap set for Moscow under the existing global deal. Putin told the forum that Russia’s oil production was growing slightly despite the supply curbs deal but Moscow was not aiming to be the world’s No. 1 crude producer. Currently, the US is the world’s top oil producer.

“Russia has a serious impact on the global energy market but the most impact we achieve (is) when working along with other key producers,” he said. “There was a moment not that long ago when Russia was the world’s top oil producer — this is not our goal.”

Russia plans to produce between 556 million and 560 million tons of oil this year (11.17-11.25 million bpd), Energy Minister Alexander Novak said separately on Wednesday, depending on the volume of gas condensate produced during cold months.

Russia will aim to stick to its commitments under the deal in November, Novak told reporters.

Russia includes gas condensate — a side product also known as a “light oil” produced when companies extract natural gas — into its overall oil production statistics, which some other oil producing countries do not do.

As Russia is gradually increasing liquefied natural gas production (LNG), the share of gas condensate it is producing is also growing. Gas condensate now accounts for around 6 percent of Russian oil production.

Novak told reporters that in winter, Russia traditionally produces more gas condensate as it is launching new gas fields in the freezing temperatures.

“We believe that gas condensate should not be taken into account (of overall oil production statistics), as this is an absolutely different area related to gas production and gas supplies,” he said.

Three sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Russia is unlikely to agree to deepen cuts in oil output at a meeting with fellow exporters next month, but could commit to extend existing curbs to support Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Novak declined to say that Russia’s position would be at upcoming OPEC+ meeting. Reuters uses a conversion rate of 7.33 barrels per ton of oil.