01:36 GMT +322 May 2019
Listen Live
    US President Donald Trump participates in a rally in support of South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster in West Columbia, South Carolina, US , June 25, 2018

    Trump Administration Prepares Bill Allowing US to Circumvent WTO Rules - Reports

    © REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque
    Get short URL

    Late last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected allegations that President Donald Trump wants the US to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    The US Administration is hammering out a bill that stipulates that Washington may actually abandon fundamental World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, according to the news website Axios, which said it had obtained the draft of the bill.

    If approved by Congress, the bill, which is titled "the United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act", would "provide Trump a license to raise US tariffs at will, without congressional consent," Axios reported, adding that the bill was ordered by Trump himself.

    READ MORE: WTO Countries Propose Appeals Mechanism Excluding US Stance — Russian Minister

    Additionally, the Trump Administration would be able to ignore the WTO's two most basic principles, specifically related to tariff rates, and sit down with any country for talks on a one-on-one basis.

    "It would be the equivalent of walking away from the WTO and our commitments there without us actually notifying anyone of our withdrawal," a source familiar with the bill was quoted by Axios as saying.

    US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has, meanwhile, said that it's premature to talk about Washington simply withdrawing from the WTO, which she said should be reformed, according to Reuters.

    The remarks came after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that a recent report that Trump is weighing withdrawal from the WTO is an "exaggeration" and "fake news."

    READ MORE: Trump Says WTO, TPP Not Serving US Interests, Bilateral Deals More Profitable

    Mnuchin added that although Trump has concerns regarding China and other countries using the WTO to their advantage, the US President is still focused on "free trade" and "breaking down barriers."

    Earlier, Axios quoted a source as saying that Trump allegedly told his aides on several occasions that he wants the US to pull out of the WTO, branding US membership in the organization as harmful for the country.

    READ MORE: Where Might Prevails: US Wants to Unravel WTO – EU Memo

    The same source added that for now Trump's aides have managed to "push back" against the idea of the US leaving the WTO by ensuring that the country actually "does well" in the organization.

    Trump publically criticized the WTO during his election campaign in 2016, describing the organization as a "disaster."

    In 2018, he slapped 25 percent and 10 percent tariffs on steel and aluminum coming from China, Canada, the European Union, blaming them for "unfair" trade with the US and the country's "bad" trade deficit.

    Several countries have already imposed retaliatory tariffs against several categories of American goods, lodging relevant complaints with the WTO's court.


    EU Vows to Respond to 'Unjustified' US Metal Tariffs, Launch WTO Dispute
    New US Tariffs Violate WTO Rules by Targeting China’s Future Industries
    US Violates WTO Rules By Introducing Tariffs - German Economy Ministry
    China Expects US to Roll Their Tariff Policy Back to WTO's Rules
    tariffs, rules, bill, withdrawal, talks, US Congress, WTO, Donald Trump, United States
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik