Trump Draft Tariffs Bill Tears Up WTO Rules

President Donald Trump's administration has drafted legislation that would allow him to flout World Trade Organization rules and raise tariffs without congressional approval, Axios reported Sunday.

White House aides who President Trump ordered to draw up a bill to have the nation get around WTO trading rules came up with an odious response: the FART Act.

Trump's aggressive stance has roiled United States relations with allies and trading partners from Europe to China. 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". The EU on Friday submitted comments warning the US Commerce Department that US import tariffs on cars and vehicle 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.

"They call it the "Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act". But several people, including former White House staffers and journalists, have shortened it to the "FART Act".

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.

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Trump, speaking to reporters during a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the White House, said, "The WTO has treated the United States very, very badly and I hope they change their ways".

"We're not planning anything now, but if they don't treat us properly we will be doing something", Trump said. Trump has requested his Commerce Department study whether to impose additional tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts imported from Europe and other foreign markets, prompting a warning from the European Union that such an action could lead to retaliation involving some $300 billion in US goods.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Axios that the administration was not preparing to roll out such legislation.

If the goal was to get lower tariffs for USA exports, Trump could do that by negotiating trade agreements, he said.

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