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Draft Bill – Trump Administration abandons foundation of WTO

Axios has obtained a leaked draft of a Trump administration bill [scroll down to see the text of the bill embedded in this article as referenced] — ordered by the president himself — that would declare America’s abandonment of fundamental World Trade Organization rules. The draft legislation is stunning. The bill essentially provides Trump a license to raise U.S. tariffs at will, without congressional consent and international rules be damned. We’ve included the full draft text on our site. Axios retyped the leaked document to protect our source. The details: The bill, titled the “United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act,” would give Trump unilateral power to ignore the two most basic principles of the WTO and negotiate one-on-one with any country: The “Most Favored Nation” (MFN) principle that countries can’t set different tariff rates for different countries outside of free trade agreements; “Bound tariff rates” — the tariff ceilings that each WTO country has already agreed to in previous negotiations.

“It would be the equivalent of walking away from the WTO and our commitments there without us actually notifying our withdrawal,” said a source familiar with the bill. “The good news is Congress would never give this authority to the president,” the source added, describing the bill as “insane.” “It’s not implementable at the border,” given it would create potentially tens of thousands of new tariff rates on products. “And it would completely remove us from the set of global trade rules.”

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