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Trump Skirts Most Energy Issues at World Economic Forum

Four days before he is scheduled to give the first State of the Union (SOTU) address of his presidency, President Trump on Friday bragged about his administration enacting comprehensive tax reform and paring down government regulations to an international audience, but he made scant comments regarding U.S. oil and gas abundance.

"We are lifting self-imposed restrictions on energy production to provide affordable power to our citizens and businesses, and to promote energy security for our friends all around the world," Trump told attendees of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He then took a clear swipe at Russia by adding "no country should be held hostage to a single provider of energy."

Although several major media outlets reported Friday that Trump's comments contained inaccuracies and exaggerations, the president opened his remarks by stating that "there has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest, and to grow in the United States. America is open for business, and we are competitive once again."

On last month's passage of a $1.5 trillion comprehensive tax reform bill, Trump crowed "we've just enacted the most significant tax cuts and reform in American history. We've massively cut taxes for the middle class and small businesses to let working families keep more of their hard-earned money. We lowered our corporate tax rate from 35%, all the way down to 21%. As a result, millions of workers have received tax cut bonuses from their employers in amounts as large as $3,000."

On cutting regulations, Trump claimed that while he had initially pledged to "eliminate two unnecessary regulations for every one new regulation," the actual tally has been 22-to-1.

"We are freeing our businesses and workers so they can thrive and flourish as never before," he said. "We are creating an environment that attracts capital, invites investment, and rewards production."

The president also touched on trade, an issue that popped up earlier this month when he slapped a four-year tariff on imported solar cells and modules, as well as large residential washing machines.

"The United States will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices, including massive intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies, and pervasive state-led economic planning," Trump said. "These and other predatory behaviors are distorting the global markets and harming businesses and workers, not just in the U.S., but around the globe...

"We will enforce our trade laws and restore integrity to our trading system. Only by insisting on fair and reciprocal trade can we create a system that works not just for the U.S. but for all nations."

Trump's comments at Davos followed those of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who said Wednesday that he doesn't believe U.S. shale production will be a spoiler of global oil and natural gas prices in 2018. Perry also expressed skepticism over projections that unconventional production is unsustainable in the long-term.

Trump is scheduled to give his first SOTU at 9 p.m. EST Tuesday.

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