By Carol E. Lee

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said Monday that the U.S. will impose a "very major" border tax on companies that move overseas as he sharpens his focus on recasting America's international trade relations.

Mr. Trump, in a meeting with business leaders at the White House, also said he would cut taxes for the middle class and businesses and reduce government regulations by at least 75%.

Regulations, he said, have "gotten out of control," and while he described himself as a friend of the environment he said "some of that stuff makes it impossible to get anything done."

"There will be no country that's going to be faster, better, more fair," Mr. Trump said.

He promised incentives for businesses that produce and hire in the U.S. but warned the leaders, "if you go to another country...we are going to be imposing a very major border tax."

"We don't have free trade because we're the only one that makes it easy to come into the country," Mr. Trump said.

The president also is scheduled to meet Monday with labor union leaders and workers. The White House described the meetings as listening sessions. He is also scheduled to meet with congressional leaders.

The sessions come ahead of his planned meetings with the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.K.

Renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada was one of Mr. Trump's campaign promises. He is also eyeing a new trade deal with the U.K. as the country follows through with its decision to exit from the European Union.

Write to Carol E. Lee at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 23, 2017 10:14 ET (15:14 GMT)

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