President Donald Trump is really into starting and maintaining trade wars no matter how harmful, so it comes as no surprise that he wants to enact legislation allowing him to negotiate directly with other countries, ignoring precedent and rules and American interests. But if shortened to an acronym, like many longwinded bill names are, Trump's plan could be known as the U.S. FART Act.
"Imposing tariffs will increase costs for consumers, lessen consumer choice, lower consumer demand, reduce vehicle and light truck production and sales, lower investment levels, and lead to job losses in the US auto sector", Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council, said in a statement. Most officials involved in the bill's drafting, with the exception of hardline trade adviser Peter Navarro, think the bill is unrealistic or unworkable, with a source calling the proposal "insane" and adding that "Congress would never give this authority to the president".
It should also come as no surprise that the act has a simple, blunt name: The Fair and Reciprocal Trade Act.
A Russian official told the WTO meeting that the issue of US investigations had been raised over the past year in different WTO meetings, only to see things change for the worse. Trump has requested his Commerce Department study whether to impose additional tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts imported from Europe and other foreign markets, prompting a warning from the European Union that such an action could lead to retaliation involving some $300 billion in USA goods. "They have been treating us very badly for many, many years and that's why we were at a big disadvantage with the WTO", he said.
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"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", White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Axios.
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 USA interest, and the WTO has said it has never had any indication of Mr Trump intending to leave.
US officials in Geneva, home of the WTO, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Simon Lester, associate director of the Trade Policy Center at the Cato Institute, wrote on the International Economic Law and Policy Blog that "I'm not taking this too seriously".
During the meeting with Rutte, Trump said he was "very close" to reaching a number of trade deals, describing them as "fair trade deals for our taxpayers, and for our workers and for our farmers".