Leaked Trump Draft Bill Would Ditch WTO Trade Rules

04 July, 2018, 07:52 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Trump admin drafted bill breaking commitment to WTO report

President Donald Trump has drafted a new bill which would allow him to raise US tariffs at will, tearing up World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, according to leaked documents obtained by Axios.

The U.S. helped establish the WTO in 1995 as a way to mediate trade disputes and head off tit-for-tat trade wars of the kind that are now enveloping the U.S., Canada, Mexico, China, and the European Union.

According to Axios, most of the officials who wrote the draft bill believe it is untenable and essentially "dead on arrival". The EU on Friday submitted comments warning the US Commerce Department that US import tariffs on cars and auto parts were unjustifiable and would harm America's automotive industry and likely lead to counter-measures by its trading partners on $294 billion of US exports.

Unless they acted deliberately, the aides who crafted the Trump bill missed one of the key habits of those tasked with putting legislative ideas on paper. "They have been treating us very badly for many, many years and that's why we were at a big disadvantage with the WTO", Trump told reporters at the White House.

In the Axios story on the leaked text, the legislation is referred to as the "United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act". In 2017, acronym bill titles to emerge from the Capitol included the GROW Act, the EGO act (on oil paintings), and the CARE Act, according to just one count.

On Friday, Trump said he doesn't plan to withdraw from the WTO "at this point", but wants United States needs to be treated more fairly by the global body. Asked if he planned to pull out of the WTO, Trump said the trade organization had treated the U.S.

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But the European Union has warned the United States that imposing import tariffs on cars and vehicle parts would harm its own automotive industry and likely lead to counter-measures by its trading partners on $294 billion (£223 billion) of US exports.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Axios that the administration was not preparing to roll out such legislation.

The White House didn't immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment.

Asked to respond to reports that the USA was planning to withdraw from the WTO, Trump said, "We are not planning anything now, but if they don't treat us properly, we will be doing something".

Trump, she said, would like to see the system get fixed, and that's what he's focused on doing.

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