Donald Trump mocked over FART Act on trade

Donald Trump has been ridiculed over the naming of a leaked draft bill outlining how the US would abandon key World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

The bill was named the United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act – immediately dubbed the FART Act.

The name was leaked by news website Axios, which had earlier reported that the US president wanted to leave the WTO.

This story was dismissed by US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin as “wrong” and “an exaggeration”.

Some Twitter uses have said the bill’s acronym “stinks”.

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

It would also allow “reciprocal tariffs”, so Mr Trump could impose US tariffs on particular goods equal to the tariff charged on US exports of those goods by another country.

Axios quoted a source familiar with the bill as saying it was “insane” and that congress would never consent to it.

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 that most of the officials who wrote the draft accept that it is untenable.

Ms Walters told the news agency: “The only way this would be news is if this were actual legislation that the administration was preparing to roll out, but it’s not,” she said.

Mr Trump has caused a crisis in the WTO by blocking the appointment of new trade judges, threatening to destroy the
system of binding dispute settlement.

But many diplomats say quitting the WTO would not be in the US interest, and the WTO has said it has never had any indication of Mr Trump intending to leave.

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