By JILL COLVIN and JONATHAN LEMIRE
DANANG, Vietnam — Promising to put “America first” in his trade practices, President Donald Trump used a speech in Vietnam Friday to denounce multilateral agreements embraced by the region and deliver what appeared to be a rebuke to China, railing against trade practices he says have put Americans out of work.
“From this day forward we will compete on a fair and equal basis,” Trump told a gathering of CEOs on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam. “We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore. I am always going to put America first.
In his speech, Trump told executives gathered in the coastal city of Danang that he was happy to enter into bilateral trading agreements with any of the nations in the Indo-Pacific region — but only if they are reciprocal and fair.
“What we will no longer do is enter into large agreements that tie our hands, surrender our sovereignty, and make meaningful enforcement practically impossible,” Trump said.
As one of his first acts as president, Trump rejected the far-reaching Pacific Rim trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, disappointing many nations in the region, including the summit’s host, Vietnam.
Leaders of the 11 remaining TPP members, representing roughly 13.5 percent of the global economy, were scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the APEC summit to seek an agreement in principle that would not require U.S. involvement.
But the prospects of that deal appeared in doubt Friday, as a meeting of the leaders of 11 countries still involved in the pact was delayed. There was no word on whether they had given up reaching agreement in Danang or were still working toward an agreement on how to move forward without U.S. involvement.
Meanwhile, a 16-member region-wide pact called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is also under negotiation. It encompasses China and India but also does not…