Trump calls WTO ‘unfair’ to US in latest trade barb

Trump calls WTO ‘unfair’ to US in latest trade barb

06/04/18 - 11:05 - US President Donald Trump is doubling down on his tough trade talk on Friday morning, saying in a tweet that China has the upper hand at the World Trade Organization, where Beijing has opened a challenge against the president’s latest tariff proposal.

Mr Trump said on Twitter: China, which is a great economic power, is considered a Developing Nation within the World Trade Organization. They therefore get tremendous perks and advantages, especially over the U.S. Does anybody think this is fair. We were badly represented. The WTO is unfair to U.S.

The tweet follows the latest back-and-forth between the two countries over trade. Mr Trump raised the stakes Thursday night by saying he had asked a top trade official to consider tariffs on an additional $100bn in China goods, on top of the $50bn already proposed.

China responded in turn by opening a WTO challenge to the proposed tariffs.

The request for consultations is the first step to opening a WTO dispute. In an interview with a New York radio show earlier on Friday, Mr Trump defended the additional $100bn tariff proposal he tabled last night, saying that the move might cause “a little pain” in the short term but that the US would benefit in the long run.

Markets were crushed at the start of the week by the trade rhetoric, amid concerns that a dispute between the world’s two largest economies could weigh on global growth broadly.

They recovered midweek as some of the fears seemed to subside, but flared back up on Friday morning on the latest developments. Mr Trump has been critical of the WTO in the past.

During a meeting last year with Pacific Rim leaders, he said the US had not been treated fairly by the WTO, claiming that China was gaming the system to its advantage.

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