Muslim Times(Web Desk) – President Donald Trump has reportedly suggested withdrawing the US from the World Trade Organization (WTO), a move that would throw global trade into wild disarray.
Trump, who is a fierce critic of the WTO, had repeatedly talked with his advisers about the issue, Axios reported on Friday, citing people involved in the talks.
“He’s [threatened to withdraw] 100 times. It would totally [screw] us as a country,” a source familiar with White House talks told Axios.
“We always get f***** 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.”
The president, however, denied having such a plan, telling reporters later on Friday, “I’m not talking about pulling out.”
Trump has been critical of the WTO since the campaign trail and once he told NBC that the WTO was a “disaster”.
Meanwhile, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin toned down the report, calling it ”an exaggeration.”
Mnuchin said the president “has concerns about the WTO. He thinks there’s aspects that aren’t fair.”
He added that in Trump’s view, “China and others have used it to their own advantage, but we are focused on free trade.”
Trump would need congressional approval to pull the US out of the organization, but that is highly unlikely.
The move would undercut the legitimacy of the WTO, remove the largest economy from it, and trigger the possibility that countries would stop following the system of trade rules created by the international community.
This comes as US tariffs on still and aluminum imports have drawn sharp criticism from around the world with several countries, in return, taking retaliatory measures.
Trump announced steel and aluminum tariffs in March as a way to alleviate what he described as unfair trading practices.
He believes the tariffs will safeguard US jobs even but economists say the measures will destroy more jobs than they create and will hurt the very US companies and workers that Trump has said he aims to protect.