The United States on Monday told the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it plans to block the reappointment of one of the WTO’s four remaining judges, Reuters reported.
Blocking the reappointment of Shree Baboo Chekitan Servansing, a judge from Mauritius, could move the WTO closer to ceasing operations, the news service noted.
If the U.S. is successful in blocking the reappointment next month, the WTO would have only three of its typical seven judges, according to Reuters, which added that if it drops to below three judges, the organization will not be able to function. Two of the other judges’ terms expire in December of next year.
President Trump has repeatedly attacked the WTO, calling it “unfair” to the U.S. and saying it has treated the nation “very badly.”
The U.S. has previously appealed to the WTO in trade disputes. Last month, the Trump administration filed five trade disputes at the international body challenging retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. from trade partners. China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey each imposed tariffs on U.S. exports in response to Trump slapping tariffs on aluminum and steel over national security interests.
Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.
Axios reported in June that Trump had spoken to advisers about leaving the WTO, quoting one source who said Trump had threatened to withdraw 100 times.
Trump denied that report, saying he was “not talking about pulling out” despite his frustrations with the organization.
BY MICHAEL BURKE – 08/27/18