Economy

Leaked Trump Draft Bill Would Ditch WTO Trade Rules

Leaked Trump Draft Bill Would Ditch WTO Trade Rules”

President Donald Trump is welcoming Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (RUH'-tuh) to the White House on Monday ahead of an upcoming North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit and major decisions on trade.

The White House told Axios the draft bill was not "actual legislation that the administration was preparing to rollout." .

Trump's short-lived former communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, was among the first to comment on the proposed bill, saying it "stinks".

Entitled the United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act, the bill would abandon two fundamental WTO rules, according to the outlet, which reported it had obtained a draft copy.

Goldman Sachs warned the second half of 2018 would be tough for investors as they grapple with rising tariffs and interest rates, while the latest survey of American factories by IHS Markit found that tariffs were driving up costs for USA manufacturers and exacerbating a slowdown for eurozone members.

Trump is again denying plans to withdraw the USA from the WTO but tells reporters in the Oval Office that the trade organization needs to change its ways.

Although the reported bill could have significant implications for the global economy, social media users have been more focused on its unfortunate name: the United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act - or "FART Act". Trump would not be able to withdraw the USA from the WTO without the approval of Congress.

These are a prohibition on nations setting different tariff rates for different countries outside of free trade agreements, and the established tariff ceiling that WTO members have agreed to. The Axios report says most of the Trump officials who worked up the proposal think it's unrealistic, and that has led to speculation that staffers gave it the unfortunate acronym on objective, notes Business Insider.

"They call it the "Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act".

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Axios that Trump has asked for ideas on how to address "the unfair imbalance of tariffs that put the U.S.at a disadvantage".

"And we're not planning anything now, but if they don't treat us properly we will be doing something", he said.

If the goal was to get lower tariffs for US exports, Trump could do that by negotiating trade agreements, he said.

US officials in Geneva, home of the WTO, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.



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