Trump threatens to pull US out of `unfair' WTO: report
31 August 2018
After battling trade adversaries on several fronts for the past few months and patching up with closer allies in recent times, US President Donald Trump has now threatened to withdraw the US from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which, he says, treats his country “unfairly.”
"If they don't shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO," Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg News.
The WTO was established to provide rules for fair global trade and for resolution of trade disputes between nations. It had also the full backing of the United States.
But Trump said on Thursday that the 1994 agreement to establish the WTO "was the single worst trade deal ever made".
Although the US has won some recent disputes in the global trade regulator, Trump finds the global body inconvenient at times as it rules against the US also in certain cases.
Speaking to Fox News earlier this year, Trump had said the WTO was set up "to benefit everybody but us", adding, "We lose the lawsuits, almost all of the lawsuits in the WTO."
The fact remains that while US wins about 90 per cent when it is the complainant, it loses about the same percentage when it is the accused.
Trump's warning shows he can no more adjust to the open trade system that the WTO oversees and the only way out is a possible US pull-out from the WTO.
Washington has been using pressure tactics like blocking the appointment of judges to paralyse WTO's Geneva-based dispute settlement body.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has also accused the WTO of interfering with US sovereignty.
Meanwhile, President Trump has managed to renegotiate a new agreement with Mexico in place of the NAFTA and is looking to conclude a similar one with Canada by Friday.
The US president has been sounding off about unfair trade even before he became president.
A pull-out from WTO will also help ward off challenges to its impost of tariffs on $200bn (£154bn) of Chinese goods.
While China has responded to US tariffs by imposing retaliatory taxes on the same value of US products, it and has also filed complaints against the tariffs at the WTO.