Axios: Trump Bill Would Give Him Unilateral Power to Ignore WTO Rules

Daniel Fowler
July 4, 2018

While the U.S. can exit the WTO, it's uncertain whether Trump could do so without approval from Congress, where many lawmakers - including Republican proponents of free trade - would likely put up a fight.

The act would allow Trump to ignore the WTO's "most favoured nation" principle, which stops countries trading on different terms with different trading partners unless they have a formal trade agreement, Axios said. Russian Federation approached the World Trade Organization (WTO) with a request to hold consultations with the United States concerning steel and aluminum duties imposed by Washington, the WTO press service reported on Monday.

During a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, President Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday the WTO has treated the U.S. "But he certainly voiced frustration, and he's been clear that he has concerns that there are a number of aspects that he doesn't believe are fair. China and other countries have used the WTO to their own advantage, and we're focused on fixing the system, and that would include that", Sanders said.

Trump's aggressive stance has roiled USA relations with allies and trading partners from Europe to China.

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More recently, he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imported into the United States from various countries and is set to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports beginning on Friday.

But many diplomats say quitting the WTO would not be in the U.S. interest, and the WTO has said it has never had any indication of Mr Trump intending to leave. Trump has already attacked individual countries, raising 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico, the European Union, and China.

The European Commission, the EU executive body that handles trade for the bloc, said on Monday it was trying to convince its US counterparts that imposing such tariffs would be a mistake.

Imports had not shown a dramatic increase in recent years, it said, and had grown largely alongside overall expansion of the US auto market, with increased demand that could not be met by domestic production. "The current system gives the USA no leverage and other countries no incentive". American consumers pay for tariffs.

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