Donald Trump has pledged to strike trade deals with willing Indo Pacific nations, but only on a country-to-country basis.
Donald Trump has signalled he is willing to strike trade deals with a raft of Pacific nations, but only on a country-to-country basis.
The US president outlined his "Indo Pacific dream" at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam on Friday.
Mr Trump, who has pulled America out of a Trans-Pacific Partnership being championed by Australia at the summit, said he would only engage in bilateral deals.
"I will make bilateral trade agreements with any Indo Pacific nation that wants to be our partner and that will abide by the principles of fair and reciprocal trade," he said during a keynote speech in Da Nang.
"What we will no longer do is enter into large agreements that tie our hands, surrender our sovereignty, and make meaningful enforcement practically impossible."
Mr Trump praised members of APEC, but said some economies including China had taken advantage of the US in previous trade deals.
The president laid blame for the deals at the feet of his predecessors.
"We are not going to allow the United States to be taken advantage of any more," Mr Trump said.
"I am always going to put America first, the same way I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first."
Mr Trump said America's closest economic partners would be those who "played by the rules" and struck agreements based on mutual respect and gain.
"Those who do will be our closest economic partners," he said.
"Those who do not can be certain that the United States will no longer turn a blind eye to violations, cheating or economic aggression. Those days are over."