President Trump Has Been Musing Out Loud A lot About The US Leaving The WTO

Paresh Nath / The Khaleej Times, UAE

Jonathan Swan of AXIOS was challenged by the White House about his reporting that the republican President Donald Trump has been threatening on numerous occasions that he thinks the US should withdraw from the WTO (World Trade Organization) which has been set up to arbitrate trade disputes between countries.

The US has benefited from the existence of this entity as its officials have ruled in favor of the US complaints, 85% of the time and most of these disputes have been against China. Every country who is a member of WTO has to abide by previously agreed upon trade agreements. The only exception to where a government could default, is when it can credibly show that its leaders are acting on the basis of their country’s “national security” interests.

The question is why would President Trump be pondering on this possibility? The answer has to do with the president’s imposition of tariffs on our neighboring countries and allies on the basis of US national security interests. Some of these leaders are threatening to file a complaint with the WTO, questioning President Trump’s assertions that he is acting on the basis of US national security interests. The WTO is not the US Supreme court and so, there is reasonable chance that the WTO officials would not rule in favor of the USA.

The trouble with the president’s plans is that he imposed tariffs on our friends while the US was a WTO member. Leaving it this point would only prove that the US is a bad actor in all of this mess.

Patrick Chappatte / Le Temps, Switzerland

Here is the rest of the story…

On June 29, 2018, Jonathan Swan of AXIOS penned the following report, “Scoop: Trump’s private threat to upend global trade”

“President Trump has repeatedly told top White House officials he wants to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization, a move that would throw global trade into wild disarray, people involved in the talks tell Axios.”

Image result for photos of WTO

What we’re hearing: “He’s [threatened to withdraw] 100 times. It would totally [screw] us as a country,” said a source who’s discussed the subject with Trump. The source added that Trump has frequently told 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.”

“Flashback: During the campaign, Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press,” in July 2016: “World Trade Organization is a disaster.”

Related image“Some aides have tried to explain to Trump that in their view, the U.S. does well at the WTO, given the U.S. has an army of trade lawyers and created the system:”

  • “The Economic Report of the President for 2018, which bears Trump’s signature on Page 11, states: “[T]he United States has won 85.7 percent of the cases it has initiated before the WTO since 1995, compared with a global average of 84.4 percent. In contrast, China’s success rate is just 66.7 percent.”

“But Trump is unmoved by those arguments, according to sources with direct knowledge:”

  • “Trump’s economic advisers do push back in the moment when he raises the idea of withdrawal.”
  • “But they’ve never put in place a policy process to take the idea seriously, according to four sources with direct knowledge of his private comments.”
  • “That dismissive attitude in the face of Trump’s insistence could ultimately prove to be a mistake — as history has shown with other policy ideas of which aides do not approve.”

Related image

“Between the lines: “Even if his advisers put a policy process in place and try to make sure he’s well-informed on what it would mean to try to withdraw from the WTO — there is no guarantee that Trump won’t do it. History shows he doesn’t care about the process.”

  • “Remember when Trump upended his globalist trade advisers’ carefully constructed policy process and simply announced he’d be imposing massive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports? It’s not unimaginable that the same could eventually happen with his desire to try to withdraw from the WTO.”

“Why this matters: A U.S. withdrawal from the WTO would send global markets into a spiral and cast trillions of dollars of trade into doubt.”

  • “It would also blow “up an institution that for 70-plus years has been a pillar of global economic and political stability.”
  • “The consequences of a U.S. withdrawal are so profound that, like Trump’s senior advisers, the trade community hasn’t seriously entertained the possibility that Trump would try to withdraw.”
  • “A top trade lawyer in Washington said: “We think he’s nuts, but not that nuts.”

Image result for photos of WTO

“The safety valve: Should Trump defy his advisers and announce a withdrawal at some point in the future, he would run into significant legal hurdles.”

  • “As head of state, Trump under international law could make the notification at the WTO. But the U.S. law implementing the WTO agreements states quite plainly that withdrawal from the WTO requires an act of Congress.”

“What’s next? Probably nothing. This move seems too extreme, even for Trump.”

  • “Sources with knowledge of the situation say the Trump administration will continue to call attention to various ways in which the U.S. encounters what some Trump advisers perceive is unfair and unbalanced treatment within the framework of the WTO.”
    • “The administration will likely continue to push the envelope on all its trade policies, fully expecting its actions will be challenged within the WTO.”

    “But if Trump continues to feel as if he’s being unfairly stymied by the international body, you’d be a fool to confidently declare that he won’t follow through on his desires at some point.”

    See:  Treasury Secretary Mnuchin claims it’s an “exaggeration that Trump wants to exit WTO

8 comments

  1. Good post, Gronda. I’m sure Trump wants to withdraw from NATO, NAFTA, and the G7 too. He’s such a moron! He thinks that isolating America will be good for the economy. Canadian tariffs on U.S. goods go into effect tomorrow and I’ll bet that before next week is done, Trump will slap tariffs on Canada’s auto sector. Kiss NAFTA goodbye.

    • Dear John Foravanti,

      I am worried sick about what the US president will do at the NATO conference and then the Trump-Putin Summit this July 2018. I am suspecting that President Trump will bring a wrecking ball to NATO and that he’ll sell the US down the river to President Putin.

      You and all Canadians have every right to be anxious.

      There had better be US witnesses or recordings of whatever is discussed between Presidents Trump and Putin.

      I am firmly convinced that President Trump is doing the bidding of President Putin. I think I’ll do a blog on this.

      Hugs, Gronda

  2. Dear Mz. Gronda

    Do not underestimate the ability of tRump to withdraw from the WTO. Do you really think congress will not rubber stamp his actions? IMO tRump is anticipating a severe chastising from the WTO because of his trade war, and he will strike at them before they can strike at him. This will be his only way to protect his fragile ego system. Because Canada burned down the White House and Mexico destroyed the Alamo, he is entitled to declare a state of emergency and the tariffs are being placed on those nations for the purpose of national security… Remember the Alamo!!! 😉

    • Dear Crustyolemothma,

      I have no doubt that the president would act to separate the US FROM WTO. it doesn’t help that his chief adviser Jon Bolton is in agreement.

      As of April 2018, Mr. Bolton took aim at the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2017, he advocated ignoring the WTO’s dispute resolution mechanism, so the United States could retaliate against its trading partners as it saw fit.

      I wish there was a way to stop President Trump from continuing to act out against our neighbors, allies and even his own country.

      Hugs, Gronda

  3. “Some aides have tried to explain to Trump that in their view, the U.S. does well at the WTO, given the U.S. has an army of trade lawyers and created the system:”

    Trump is clearly pandering to his narrow base, at the expense of everyone else who does not agree with his remake of America. It seems he wants to turn back time when US was the greatest producer and manufacturer in the world and rich old white robber barons controlled the economy, along with overt racism, sexism, and all the rest.

    • Dear 1EarthUnited,

      With this kind of thinking, President Trump will be upsetting some very rich corporations with executives who know that the US leaving the WTO would tank the US economy. He will be sat on, bigly.

      Hugs, Gronda

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