President Donald Trump will return to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in late January, along with a large delegation of his top officials, the White House announced today.
“The president will attend, as he did last year,” White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will formally lead the U.S. delegation, which will include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Sanders said.
Trump used his highly anticipated first appearance last year at the annual gathering of business and political elites to defend his “America First” policies and urge foreigners to invest in the United States.
But in the 12 months since that visit, Trump has roiled international trade relations by slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum from around the world in the name of national security. He has also levied tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.
The annual meeting could give Trump a chance to hobnob with other world leaders, many of whom attended the recent G-20 leaders meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a high-profile dinner there and agreed to a 90-day truce in their bilateral trade war to try to reach a negotiated settlement.
Xi attended the Davos summit in January 2017, where he made a vigorous defense for free trade that was a stark contrast to the protectionist rhetoric of the newly installed U.S. president.
Xi skipped the 2018 Davos meeting and its not clear whether he will attend next year. The dates of the 2019 Davos meeting, Jan. 22-25, will mark about two-thirds of the way through the 90-day U.S.-China cease-fire.
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and SBA Administrator Linda McMahon will also attend the forum.
Trumps daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will also make the trip in their roles as White House policy advisers.