“Not Good Enough” – Trump threatens to withdraw US from World Trade Organization

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CNN Business

 “EU is almost as bad as China” – Trump

President Donald Trump has reportedly rejected a European Union proposal scrapping tariffs on automobiles, a move which threatens to amplify a simmering trans-Atlantic trade dispute, terming it as “not good enough”.

Just hours earlier, the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem had said the bloc was “willing to bring down… our car tariffs to zero” provided that the United States did the same.

Trump in his statement to Bloomberg News yesterday, speaking of the Brussels offer said,

It’s not good enough. Their consumer habits are to buy their cars, not to buy our cars.

The White House in July sought to defuse the trade tiff when Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met and pledged to work towards a limited trade accord that would eliminate customs duties, but excluded the automobile sector.

Trump also compared the EU to China, as reported by BBC. He has reportedly threatened to slap import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese goods, as a trade war escalates with Beijing.

The European Union is almost as bad as China, just smaller,

Trump said.

He also warned that he could pull the United States out of the World Trade Organization.

If they don’t shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO,

Trump said of one of the key anchors of the post-World War II multilateral trading system that the United States helped construct.

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At a time when Trump’s protectionist policies have sparked a wave of trade wars, the institution best placed to help settle trade differences is facing a deepening crisis.

This week Washington blocked the reappointment of a WTO judge, increasing the risk it could soon find itself unable to fulfil its key role in arbitrating disputes.

Trump’s issue with the WTO

  • The US president has been sounding off about unfair trade since even before he became president
  • Last year, Mr. Trump told Fox News: “The WTO was set up to benefit everybody but us… We lose the lawsuits, almost all of the lawsuits in the WTO”
  • The US has been embroiled in a tit-for-tat trade battle on several fronts in recent months
  • The one creating the most interest is the one with China, as the world’s two largest economies wrangle for global influence
  • Trump has introduced tariffs on a number of goods imported into the US
  • A third round of tariffs on $200bn (£154bn) of Chinese goods could come as soon as a public-comment period concludes next week, according to a Bloomberg report citing various sources
  • Asked to confirm this during the Bloomberg interview, President Trump said that it was “not totally wrong”
  • China has responded to US tariffs by imposing retaliatory taxes on the same value of US products and has filed complaints against the tariffs at the WTO
  • China’s commerce ministry has said it “clearly suspects” the US of violating WTO rules
  • An initial complaint at the WTO was filed by China in July after Mr Trump imposed his first round of tariffs
  • The WTO is at the heart of the system of rules for international trade
  • It is the forum for sorting disputes between countries about breaches of global trade rules and it is the forum for negotiating new trade liberalization
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