Donald Trump Threatens Action On WTO After Reports He Wants To Withdraw

Donald Trump Threatens Action On WTO After Reports He Wants To Withdraw

Major U.S. trading partners including the European Union, China and Japan voiced deep concern at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday about possible U.S. measures imposing additional duties on imported autos and parts.

News website Axios last week reported that the Republican president wants to withdraw from the WTO, drawing a prompt denial on Friday from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. "Most countries agree that they must be changed, but nobody ever asked!"

One of the few engaging with the substance of the bill, and not just its packaging, was Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci, Trump's short-lived former director of communications, who said that asking American consumers to pay for tariffs "stinks".

As Axios explains, it circumvents two of the fundamental principles of the WTO: that of the "Most Favored Nation" and "bound tariff rates". U.S. news website Axios cited sources saying Trump had repeatedly told his top officials he wanted to exit the world body, which Washington helped design and most often ruled in favour of the USA when Washington brought cases before it.

The Trump administration has drafted legislation that would allow the U.S.to ditch World Trade Organization rules and give President Donald Trump tighter control over USA trade policy, according to Axios, which published the leaked draft.

Trump reportedly was briefed on the working draft in May.

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Since March 23, the United States has applied 25 percent tariffs on steel in all countries except Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Korea.

"And we're not planning anything now, but if they don't treat us properly, we'll be doing something", Mr Trump said, without elaborating.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Axios that the bill was still far from becoming a reality.

But many diplomats say quitting the WTO would not be in the USA interest, and the WTO has said it has never had any indication of Mr Trump intending to leave.

USA officials in Geneva, home of the WTO, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Trump is said to be in discussions to adopt a United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act - or FART, as social media has dubbed it - that would give him authority to ignore WTO rules.

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