Trump Draft Tariffs Bill Tears Up WTO Rules

Andrew Cummings
July 5, 2018

The proposed "United States Fair and Reciprocal Trade Act" would give the president unilateral power to renegotiate with individual countries or apply tariffs, bypassing global WTO rules for collective negotiation.

The recovery attempt comes following the release of a report from the Institute for Supply management showing growth in USA manufacturing activity unexpectedly accelerated in the month of June.

But the big reason people are trolling the bill on Twitter is the unfortunate acronym which has led people to refer to the bill as the FART Act.

President Donald Trump is really into starting and maintaining trade wars no matter how harmful, so it comes as no surprise that he wants to enact legislation allowing him to negotiate directly with other countries, ignoring precedent and rules and American interests. "Most countries agree that they must be changed, but nobody ever asked!"


On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is unchanged compared to the 110.76 yen it fetched at the close of NY trading on Friday.

Now, Axios has obtained a leaked draft of a bill that is created to do just that, called the "United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act". White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters indicated to Axios that the bill isn't "actual legislation that the administration was preparing to rollout", noting that "principals have not even met to review any text of legislation on reciprocal trade".

But Trump's commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, said earlier on Monday it was too soon for the United States to discuss any withdrawal from the World Trade Organization.

Lingering trade concerns are likely to weigh on the markets as tariffs on USD34 billion worth of Chinese imports to the United States and a matching USD34 billion worth of U.S. exports to China are due to take effect on July 6th.


According to Axios, a leaked draft of a Trump administration bill would "declare America's abandonment of fundamental WTO rules" by allowing POTUS to raise USA tariffs at will "without congressional consent and global rules be damned".

"They have to treat us fairly", Trump said Friday about the WTO.

The U.S. diplomat at the meeting said the matter was already the subject of formal disputes at the WTO, so it should not be on the committee's agenda, the official who attended the meeting said.

The "United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act" essentially bestows Trump (or any future president) with the power to determine any current or future tariff rates with countries-outside of the jurisdiction of the WTO.


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