Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Trump Trade Legislation Has Unfortunate Acronym of FART

Nellie Chapman | 03 July, 2018, 04:54

The story by Jonathan Swan uses the words "insane" and "stunning" to describe the bill's scope, though it adds that the measure has virtually no chance of becoming reality.

Donald Trump's administration is prepared to abandon numerous "fundamental World Trade Organization rules" that are now in place, according to a leaked document obtained by Axios.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Axios the bill should not be taken as a done deal and some have even suggested the name was an act of subversion by a staff member.

Axios reported on Sunday that Trump, who has made fighting unfair trade rules a pillar of his presidency, has ordered that legislation be written stipulating a WTO withdrawal.

"WTO has its flaws, but the 'United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act, ' aka the U.S. FART Act, stinks", he tweeted.

The bill would mean abandoning key disciplines agreed at the World Trade Organization, Axios news website reported late on Sunday, to a skeptical response from trade experts.

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.

Trump's comments came in response to an 11-page European Union letter sent to the commerce department on Friday threatening that the global community would impose tariffs on up to $290bn of U.S. products if Trump moves forward with tariffs on foreign autos, according to the Financial Times.

It is called the United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act.

The act would allow Trump to ignore the WTO's "most favored nation" principle, which stops countries trading on different terms with different trading partners unless they have a formal trade agreement, Axios said.

The European Union has warned Trump not to impose tariffs on auto imports, saying it could lead to retaliation involving some $300 billion in USA goods. But many diplomats say quitting the WTO would not be in the USA interest, and the WTO has said it has never had any indication of Trump intending to leave.

Something suspicious wafts throughout the White House...