The proposed "United States Fair and Reciprocal Trade Act" would give the president unilateral power to renegotiate with individual countries or apply tariffs, bypassing global WTO rules for collective negotiation.
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in response, "It is no secret that POTUS has had frustrations with the unfair imbalance of tariffs that put the U.S.at a disadvantage".
The White House told Axios the draft bill was not "actual legislation that the administration was preparing to rollout." . Even former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci got in on the fun, saying the reported plan "stinks". American consumers pay for tariffs. 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".
Under the bill, Trump would be able to impose tariffs without congressional consent.
The leaked draft emerged a few days after Axios reported that Trump has repeatedly told White House officials that he wants to withdraw the USA from the WTO.
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In the Axios story on the leaked text, the legislation is referred to as the "United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act".
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".
These are a prohibition on nations setting different tariff rates for different countries outside of free trade agreements, and the established tariff ceiling that WTO members have agreed to. 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 Trump intending to leave.
Trump's aggressive stance on trade has roiled US relations with allies and trading partners from Europe to China.
If the goal was to get lower tariffs for US exports, Trump could do that by negotiating trade agreements, he said.