Economy

'Shape up or we'll quit', Trump tells WTO

'Shape up or we'll quit', Trump tells WTO

Donald Trump launched a blistering attack on the World Trade Organization (WTO), saying that America will leave the trade governing body unless it "shapes up" and heeds American interests.

The organization's role is to resolve worldwide trade disputes, but Trump and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have sharply criticized it and accused the WTO of interfering with US sovereignty.

In an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, Trump warned that he would withdraw from the WTO "if they don't shape up".

More from the Bloomberg interview.

Why is Trump mad at the WTO?

"The scenarios are not going to be good for anyone", he said.

According to the Trump administration, the USA has been losing most of the cases it takes to trade body.

China's business service has said it "unmistakably associates" the United States with damaging WTO rules.

Mr Trump's warning about a possible United States pull-out from the WTO highlights the conflict between his protectionist trade policies and the open trade system that the WTO oversees.

But experts argue that bringing China into the WTO and the global trade system was a successful way to avoid potential trade wars.

In the past Trump has taken to Twitter to accuse China and the European Union of "manipulating their currencies and interest rates lower" to boost their economies at the expense of the US.

MR TRUMP, on why Democrats should not impeach him. Bloomberg notes that in general, companies that bring complaints forward to the WTO themselves tend to win their cases, as opposed to defendants winning them.

The president said the 1994 agreement establishing the body, which has been the cornerstone of global trade, "was the single worst trade deal ever made".

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Ricardo Melendez-Ortiz, chief executive of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, called the "WTO far from ideal and no one disputes the need for reform".