White House Says Reports US Is Leaving WTO 'Not Accurate'

© AFP 2022 / FRED DUFOURA person gets out of the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarter in Geneva (File)
A person gets out of the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarter in Geneva (File) - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Media reports of the United States leaving the World Trade Organization (WTO) are inaccurate, however, the Trump administration is focused on fixing the trade system, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press briefing.

"As Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin and the President [Donald Trump] have said, that is not accurate: That the United States is leaving the WTO," Sanders told reporters on Monday. "But he’s 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… we're focused on fixing the system."

Sanders noted that China and other countries have used the WTO to their own advantage, but reiterated that the United States is focused on fixing the system.

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Earlier on Monday, Trump said that his administration will take action against the WTO if the organization continues to treat the United States badly.

"The WTO has treated the United States very badly, and I hope they change their ways, they have been treating us very badly for many, many years," Trump told reporters. "We’re not planning anything now, but if they don’t treat us properly, we will be doing something."

Also on Monday, Axios.com reported that it had obtained a leaked draft of a proposal from the Trump administration to exclude the United States from the rules of the WTO. The measure would give Trump unilateral power to bypass certain principles of the WTO and to negotiate bilateral deals with any country, the report said.

The same news outlet also reported on Friday that a source said Trump has threatened to withdraw from the WTO "100 times."

WTO Received Russia's Request for Dispute Consultations with US Over Metal Tariffs

Meanwhile, the World Trade Organization said on Monday that it had received Russia’s request for consultations with the United States over the latter’s additional tariffs on imported steel products and aluminum.

"The Russian Federation has requested WTO dispute consultations with the United States regarding US duties on certain imported steel and aluminium products. The request was circulated to WTO members on 2 July," the WTO press release read.

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On June 29, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said that Moscow had filed a complaint with the WTO to challenge the steep US metal tariffs within the WTO dispute settlement procedures.

The Russian request, published on the WTO website, notes that the US trade practices are inconsistent with the country's obligations under a number of WTO agreements, in particular the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and "nullify or impair the benefits accruing to the Russian Federation directly or indirectly" under such agreements.

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