WASHINGTON, July 2. /TASS/. A draft bill that would declare the US abandonment of fundamental World Trade Organization’ rules may be submitted to the Congress in the near future by the request of President Donald Trump, the Axios portal reported on Sunday. The website referred to the text of the draft bill.
The bill titled United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act essentially provides Trump a license to raise US tariffs at will, without congressional consent and international rules be damned, according to Axios.
"It would be the equivalent of walking away from the WTO," a source in the Congress told the portal.
"It's not implementable at the border," given it would create potentially tens of thousands of new tariff rates on products," the source added.
Most officials involved in the bill's drafting think the bill is unrealistic or unworkable, Axios said. However trade adviser Peter Navarro is confident that the bill would get plenty of support, particularly from Democrats.
White House response
"It is no secret that the President of the US has had frustrations with the unfair imbalance of tariffs that put the U.S. at a disadvantage. He has asked his team to develop ideas to remedy this situation and create incentives for countries to lower their tariffs. The current system gives the U.S. no leverage and other countries no incentive," spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said. She added that the text of the initiative is far from being finalized.
According to Axios, the US Congress is concerned with how Trump has been using his trade authorities. Some of Republicans are planning to restrict Trump’s authorities in trade and to roll back the president's steel and aluminum tariffs.
On Friday, the US leader denied the report Axios spread earlier that he allegedly announced his intention to withdraw Washington from among WTO members.
The World Trade Organization was established on 1 January 1995 on the basis of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), concluded in 1947. More than 160 countries are members of the WTO. Russia became WTO member in 2012.
Duties on steel and aluminum
On March 23, Washington introduced new duties on steel and aluminum products - 25% for steel and 10% for aluminum. They are valid for all countries that supply products to the US, but Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, as well as the EU countries were granted a deferral.
In late May, Russia notified the WTO about possible retaliatory measures in connection with the introduction of the US duties.
The EU has announced that it would proportionally respond to US trade tariffs, as well as initiate proceedings as part of the WTO.