Trump meets J&J CEO, unveils protectionist policies

President Donald Trump has met with a hand-picked group of business leaders, including Johnson & Johnson’s CEO, Alex Gorsky, unveiling a set of protectionist ideas to revive the US economy.

In his inauguration speech Trump said his mantra would be “America first”, and the indications are he will follow through with this promise to introduce a series of protectionist measures including a border tax that will be imposed on companies attempting to relocate outside of the US.

Gorsky (pictured to the right of Trump) was among a group of business leaders who met with president Trump first thing on Monday at a breakfast briefing in Washington, which was briefly open to the press.

He sat next to Trump as the president outlined his ideas to the group, which also included SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk.

Trump said: “A company that wants to fire all of its people in the United States and build some factory someplace else and then thinks that product is going to just flow across the border into the United States, that’s just not going to happen. They are going to have a tax to pay, a substantial border tax.”

One of Trump’s first acts was to kill off the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, one of former president Obama’s key policies, covering trade between a dozen countries including Canada and Japan. Trump opposed the deal, saying it would protect US jobs from competition in low-wage countries.

On Friday, prime minister Theresa May is set to become the first foreign leader to meet president Trump.

According to reports Trump wants to strike a major free trade deal with the UK in the weeks following Brexit.

In a closely-watched press conference later that day, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, responded to questions on Trump’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and to crack down on drug pricing.

Journalist April Ryan noted that Trump had reportedly met with Democrat congressman Elijah Cummings to discuss drug prices – although Spicer said he had no knowledge of the meeting.

He told the press conference: “I am not aware of that conversation. You have heard the president over the last couple of weeks talk about the price of pharmaceutical drugs and the need to get those prices down and bring manufacturing back in the pharmaceutical industry to benefit the country.”

Spicer said it is “an issue he’s going to continue work on.”

He added: “Getting a hold of the cost of prescription drugs to give more people access to them but also to allow greater access to healthcare, is going to be a key part of it. That’s going to happen.”

Spicer also insisted under further questioning that Trump has a mandate to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

He said: “What we have is a mandate to make healthcare more accessible at a lower cost. All leaders have a mandate to fix this system and make it better.”

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