Over 40 countries at WTO object to US car tariff plan

Eileen GuzmanJul 04, 2018

Most officials involved in the bill's drafting, with the exception of hardline trade adviser Peter Navarro, think the bill is unrealistic or unworkable, with a source calling the proposal "insane" and adding that "Congress would never give this authority to the president".

While the bill is still in draft format, it highlights the extremes Trump is willing to take in dealing with what the President considers an unfair trade balance between the United States and the rest of the world.

A report that US President Donald Trump is looking to walk away from the World Trade Organisation and instead adopt a United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act, or Fart Act, has been greeted with loud amusement on Twitter.

The proposed legislation is far from a done deal, according to other media reports and the White House itself. The EU on Friday submitted comments warning the US Commerce Department that US import tariffs on cars and auto parts were unjustifiable and would harm America's automotive industry and likely lead to counter-measures by its trading partners on $294 billion of US exports.

Trump's aggressive stance has roiled U.S. relations with allies and trading partners from Europe to China.

During a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, President Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday the WTO has treated the U.S. Or, the "FART Act".

In the Axios story on the leaked text, the legislation is referred to as the "United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act".

It would also allow "reciprocal tariffs", so Mr Trump could impose U.S. tariffs on particular goods equal to the tariff charged on USA exports of those goods by another country.

On Friday, Trump said he doesn't plan to withdraw from the WTO "at this point", but wants United States needs to be treated more fairly by the global body.

His comments came after the Axios news website reported that Trump's administration has drafted proposed legislation that would allow Trump to raise tariffs at will and negotiate special tariff rates with specific countries - two basic violations of WTO rules.

"I think the European Union - we're going to be meeting with them fairly soon, Trump said".

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, speaking on CNN on Saturday, deflected a question over whether the administration wanted to withdraw from the global treaty, saying, "That's the president's decision".

Trump, she said, would like to see the system get fixed, and that's what he's focused on doing.

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