FedEx CEO urges Trump to rethink trade, embrace China

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(Copyright Reuters 2017)

U.S. President Donald Trump should reconsider his positions on international trade and work to embrace China and its vast market, FedEx Corp CEO Fred Smith said on Tuesday, one day after Trump made good on his campaign promise to pull out of a major trade deal with Asian allies.

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On Monday, Trump signed an executive order to formally withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership He also said he would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement at an "appropriate time," following another campaign pledge to redo the NAFTA trade pact with Canada and Mexico.

"I would urge him to rethink some of those positions," Smith, who founded the global freight, package and business service company, said in an interview on CBS' "This Morning" program.

Trump's move to scrap the TPP deal comes as China's influence in the region is growing. The Republican president has been a vocal opponent of China.

But Smith, who met with Trump in New York following his November election victory, urged Trump to reconsider his position toward the Asian powerhouse despite Chinese historic protectionism.

"To some degree, the administration's positions are a little bit out of date with reality of China today. They want to open their markets today," Smith told CBS.

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He added that Trump's trade team - Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House National Trade Council head Peter Navarro - should work to "open up trade with China, not walk away from it."

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)