Forget Tariff, Now Trump Has Threatened – 100 Times – To Withdraw U.S. From WTO

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Jul 01 2018
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President Donald Trump had walked away from the Paris climate agreement. His administration had also announced the U.S. was leaving the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. If you think those were the craziest decision a United States president had ever made, think again. There’s no limit as to what the 45th President of the United States will do.


The global trade war that Trump has declared against everyone – Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, China and whatnot – has greatly spooked the global financial and stock markets. And if you think trade war should be the craziest thing the POTUS would unleash to the business world, think again. The U.S. president had reportedly wanted to withdraw America from WTO.


Axios reported that Trump has repeatedly told White House officials he wants to pull U.S. out from World Trade Organization. A source said – “He’s (threatened to withdraw) 100 times. It would totally (screw) us as a country.” The source added that Trump has told his advisers – “We always get fucked by them [the WTO]. I don’t know why we’re in it. The WTO is designed by the rest of the world to screw the United States.”

President Donald Trump - Angry

Trump’s aides tried to explain to their boss – that the U.S. has benefited by joining WTO. For example, the United States’ army of trade lawyers have won 85.7% of the cases it has initiated before the WTO since 1995. In comparison, China’s success rate was just 66.7%. However, the stubborn Trump reportedly ignored the arguments presented by his aides.


Whenever the U.S. president raises the idea of getting out of WTO, his band of economic advisers would push back. So far, they managed to contain President Trump in such that the plan to quit WTO has never been taken seriously that it deserves to be considered as a policy. But it’s a matter of time before Trump, as history shows, bulldozes his plan to exit WTO.


After all, Trump has single-handedly recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, something which for more than 20 years, successive U.S. presidents have signed a waiver every 6 months that allows them to delay a move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem under the pretext of national security. Only Trump dares to do what his successors dared not do.

US Embassy in Jerusalem Israel - Ivanka Trump

A U.S. withdrawal from the WTO would send global markets crashing. Fortunately, the U.S. has its built-in fail-safe system. Should Trump defy his advisers and announce a withdrawal at some point in the future, he would be hit with legal hurdles. Although Trump could tell the WTO that U.S. is quitting, the country’s law says such action would require Congressional approval.


Some analysts believe that eventually Trump will try his luck. There’s a reason why Trump going to town with tariffs aiming at everyone, including the U.S. allies. Trump is planning to justify slapping the tariffs on the grounds that the foreign imports threaten national security. Foreign government will then be forced to go to the WTO and ask that the tariffs be ruled illegal.


If WTO declares that the U.S. tariffs are illegal, Trump administration may counter by saying it was taking the action under Article 21 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. In a nutshell, the article says that some binding tariff agreements can be broken during wartime. Trump believes that once Article 21 is invoked, a WTO panel has “no authority” and should pack up and go home.

Trump To Take United States Out Of WTO - World Trade Organization

Therefore, playing the tariff card could have been Trump’s game from the beginning. The U.S. president deliberately uses national security excuse to create a crisis – which the whole world has been taking advantage of the country – so that the U.S. can withdraw from the WTO. Former President Bush had tried using national security grounds to justify steel tariffs in 2001 but it failed.


It’s a public knowledge that Trump is a long-time critic of the WTO. He complained during his campaign that other nations had taken advantage of the U.S. because of bad negotiating by past presidents in both parties. When asked, President Trump said he doesn’t plan to withdraw from the WTO, for now, but warns that the U.S. needs to be treated more fairly by the global body.


White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, however, refused to answer a question whether the administration wanted to withdraw from the international treaty, saying it was the president’s decision. Perhaps Trump purposely leaked the story about quitting WTO to test water, to see the reaction from the financial market over such plan.

Donald Trump - Cap Make America Great Again


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