March 20, 2019

Trump denies planning to pull out of WTO

02 July 2018, 10:11 | Joann Bryant

Axios: Trump privately says he wants to withdraw from WTO


Earlier Friday, White House officials sought to ease concerns over the report, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin calling it an "exaggeration". "The WTO is designed by the rest of the world to screw the United States".

He added that "it was fair to say" Trump has "grown frustrated" with the WTO, which regulates global trade agreements, as per the report.

USA stocks wobbled briefly in premarket trading after the Axios report, but regained their footing following Mnuchin's comments.

And although Trump complains that China and others have used the WTO system to their own advantage "we are focused on free trade" and "breaking down barriers", Mnuchin said.

"We always get f*cked by them [the WTO]", the president has regularly said, according to Swan's sources.

"He's frustrated with it and doesn't love it but it's not like we're doing some formal process to withdraw. It's much too costly for the United States", said Trump.

Axios said a pullout from the WTO would require Congressional approval.

After announcing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in early March, the USA and China have been trading retaliatory punches.

The 164-member WTO is the only worldwide organization that deals with the rules of trade between countries and states its key objective as opening trade "for the benefit of all".

"Faced with these unjustified tariffs, the United States will take all necessary actions under both USA law and global rules to protect its interests", he said.

CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.

The USTR has launched a WTO challenge against China's technology licensing practices, arguing that they ignore market principles and violate WTO rules.

European Union leaders on Thursday agreed "in substance" with proposals to improve the WTO in what appeared to be an effort to placate the US President. He also reiterated his allegations that other nations had taken advantage of the USA because of bad negotiating by past presidents.

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