Transcript of President Trump’s Remarks at Business Leader’s Meeting at the White House-January 23, 2017

President Trump makes remarks prior to engaging business leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House

Good morning, everybody.

Okay, sit down, please. Mark was so nice with the plant coming back, I wanted to sit next to him, I must be honest.

Thank you very much, everybody. This is really our first official meeting, and Andrew, it’s nice to have you set everything up so well, and I hear your company’s doing well. And, I really do. I appreciate we’ll get to know each other very well. We’ll have these meetings every, whenever you need ‘em, actually. But I would say every quarter, perhaps. You could say monthly, but all of a sudden monthly becomes repetitive as we know. It sounds good, but then you have to do it and it’s like, it gets a little repetitive. But I would say probably on a quarterly basis.

Uh, you are great people. You have done an amazing job. And the biggest in the world. And this is a world wide meeting, and what we want to do is bring manufacturing back to our country.

Vice President Pence, good morning, is very much involved with me on that. It’s one of my most important subjects. It’s what the people wanted. It’s one of the reasons I’m sitting here instead of somebody else sitting here. And I think it’s something I’m good at. We’ve already had a big impact, and I want to thank Mark and Ford because you’ve been great. Uh, I think that, uh, I think Marilyn is going to be terrific. We’re going to find out soon, right? That’s Lockheed-Martin. And, uh, we’re gonna, I think we’re gonna have a tremendous amount of business from them. Fact, if you read today’s papers, uh, you’ll see what’s happening with, uh, with four or five different companies that announced that they feel much differently. Foxconn is going to spend a tremendous amount of money on building a massive plant, and probably more than one.

So that’s what we want. We want people, we want to start making our products again. We don’t wanna bring ‘em in, we want to make them here. And that doesn’t mean we don’t trade because we do trade. But we want to make our products here. And if you look at some of the original great people that ran this country, you will see that they felt very strongly about that…About making products, and we’re going to start making our products again. And there will be advantages to companies that do indeed make their products here. So we’ve seen it. Uh, it’s going to get, uh, it’s going to get…it’s going to be a wave. You watch, it’s going to be a wave.

And I’ve always said, by the you put ‘em on these massive ships or airplanes and fly ‘em, I think it’s gonna be cheaper. Now, what we’re doing is we are going to be cutting taxes massively for both the middle class and for companies. And that’s massively. Uh, we’re trying to get it down to anywhere from fifteen to twenty percent, and it’s now thirty five percent. But it’s probably more thirty eight percent than it is thirty five, wouldn’t you say? Uh, that’s a big thing.

Uh, a bigger thing, and that surprised me is the fact that we’re gonna be cutting regulation massively. Now we’re gonna have regulation, and it’ll be just as strong and just as good and just as protective of the people as the regulation we have right now. The problem with the regulation we have right now is that you can’t do anything. You can’t, I have, I have people that tell me they have more people working on regulations than they have doing product, and it’s out of control. It’s gotten out of control. Uh, I’m a very big person when it comes to the environment. I’ve received awards on the environment, but uh, some of that stuff makes it impossible to get anything built. Uh, it takes years and years uh, I know you can look at some examples, I read one recently where a man’s been trying to build a factory for many, many years, and his vote was going to be fairly soon and he gave up because he wasn’t going to win the vote. Spent millions and millions of dollars. Ruined, actually ruined his life. And we can’t have that. So, when somebody wants to put up a factory, it’s gonna be expedited. And, you have to go through the process, but it’s gonna be expedited. And we’re going to take care of the environment, we’re going to take care of safety, and all of the other things we have to take care of. But you’re gonna get such great service. There will be no country that’s going to be faster, better, more fair, and at the same time protecting the people of the country. Whether it’s safety ,or so many other reasons where regulations are good.

We think we can cut regulations by seventy five percent, maybe more. But by seventy five percent. Have, in a certain way, better protections. But when you want to expand your plant, or when Mark wants to come in and build a big massive plant, or when Dell wants to come in and do something monstrous and special, um, you’re gonna have your approvals really fast, okay? And the one thing that surprised me, and then I want to hear what you have to say. But the one thing that surprised me, going around and meeting with a lot of the people at this table, and meeting with a lot of the small business owners. If I gave them a choice of this massive tax decrease that we’re giving for business, for everybody, but for business, or for the cutting down of regulation. If I took a vote I think I’d, the regulation wins a hundred percent. Now, in one case it’s hard dollars, and in the other case, it’s regulation. You would think that the regulations would have no chance. It’s, it’s, I’ve never seen anything like it. Virtually everybody is happy with regulation than even cutting the taxes. So the regulations are going to be cut massively and the taxes are going to be cut way down. So you’re gonna have now incentive, incentive to build. The one thing I do have to warn you about; when you have a company here, you have a plant here. It’s going to be in Indiana, or it’s in Ohio, or it’s in Michigan, or it’s in North Carolina, or Pennsylvania…anywhere in this country. When it decides, when you decide, if you decide to close it, and you no longer will have a real reason because your taxes are going to be lower. And by the way, if you go to another state, that’s it. That’s great. If you can go from Ohio to Indiana, or from Indiana to Ohio, that’s fine. So you’ll have fifty great, wonderful governors to negotiate with. So it’s not like we’re taking away competition.

But if you go to another country, and you decide that you’re going to close and get rid of two thousand people or five thousand people, um, I tell you United Technologies was an example with Carrier, and I got involved, you know, two years after they announced, so in all fairness, uh, that was tough. But uh, United Technologies was terrific, and they brought back many of those jobs. But if that happens we are going to be imposing a very major border tax on the product when it comes in. Which I think is fair. Which is fair.

So a company that wants to fire all of its people in the United States, and build some factory someplace else, and then thinks that that product is going to just flow across the border into the United States, that’s not gonna happen. They’re gonna have a tax to pay. A border tax. A substantial border tax. Now, uh, some people would say uh, that’s not free trade. But we don’t have free trade now. Because we’re the only one that makes it easy to come into the country. If you look at China, if you look at many other countries, I don’t have to name ‘em, but many other countries, they can’t believe what we do. So we take in things free, and yet if you want to take a plant, or you want to do something, you want to sell something into China and other countries, it’s very, very hard. In some cases it’s impossible. They won’t even take your product. But when they do take your product, they charge a lot of tax. So. I don’t call that free trade. What we want is fair trade. Fair trade. And we’re gonna treat countries fairly, but they have to treat us fairly. And if they’re going to charge tax to our countries, if, as an example we sell a car into Japan, and they do things to us that make it impossible to sell cars in Japan. And yet they sell cars into us, and they come in like, by the hundreds of thousands on the biggest ships I’ve ever seen, we have to all talk about that. It’s not fair. It’s not fair. It never was. I just can’t believe it took so long for somebody to come along. So that’s the only thing I will tell you. So essentially I’m talking about no tax, because if you stay here, there’s no tax. Somebody will say, ‘Oh, Trump is going to tax.’ But I’m not going to tax. There is no tax. None whatsoever. And I just want to tell you, all you have to do is stay. Don’t leave. Don’t fire your people in the United States. We’re the greatest people. And many other countries have the great people too. We all have great people, okay. This isn’t that kind of a competition. Everybody has great people. But if we’re gonna fire people, and build a product outside, not gonna happen. Not gonna happen. Thank you. So with that, we’ll take some uh, some questions. Marilyn, do you want to start? I’ve gotten to know Marilyn very well. We have this beautiful negotiation going.