Trump Seeks Trade Input From Tech Executives

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President-elect Donald Trump met with technology executives Wednesday and asked them for their opinions on trade.

“There are a lot of border restrictions and a lot of border problems,” Trump said during the meeting in New York.

Those who attended the meeting include Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Alphabet CEO Larry Page, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins and Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt, many of whom represent international companies.

“I’m here to help you folks do well,” Trump said. “There’s nobody like you in the world.”

The meeting was organized by chief of staff Reince Preibus, Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and tech investor and transition team adviser Peter Thiel.

Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick were picked Wednesday to advise Trump on economic issues before the meeting.

Cook and Musk are also expected to meet with Trump privately, according to Buzzfeed.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence spoke to journalists before the meeting and said that Trump looked forward to meeting with the technology leaders to discuss how to grow jobs in the industry and work with the new administration.

Many technology leaders supported Hillary Clinton during the election and differ from Trump on dealing with net neutrality, encryption, immigration, and free trade; however, they saw the summit as an opportunity to advocate for tech-friendly policies.

“I plan to tell the president-elect that we are with him and are here to help in any way we can. If he can reform the tax code, reduce regulation, and negotiate better trade deals, the U.S. technology community will be stronger and more competitive than ever,” Catz said in a statement.

Rometty said Tuesday that the company will hire 25,000 new employees over the next four years, 6,000  in 2017. Rometty also said, in a piece for USA TODAY, that the company will invest $1 billion into training and development of its U.S. employees over the next four years.

Rometty also wrote an open letter to Trump on Nov. 15 suggesting ways that IBM could work with the new administration.

Executives from Airbnb and Uber declined the invitation to the meeting because they were traveling, according to their representatives. Executives from Twitter were not invited, despite the social media platform being a frequent source of public communication for Trump.

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