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Trump Pressures World Trade Organization To Stop ‘Cheating’ By China And Other Countries

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter

President Donald Trump addressed his decision to pressure the World Trade Organization (WTO) to stop allowing countries like China to qualify as developing countries on Twitter Friday.

“The WTO is BROKEN when the world’s RICHEST countries claim to be developing countries to avoid WTO rules and get special treatment. NO more!!! Today I directed the U.S. Trade Representative to take action so that countries stop CHEATING the system at the expense of the USA!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a Friday memo to use “all available means” to pressure the WTO to give some countries developing country status, which gives them more lenient treatment, reported The Associated Press. Some estimates project that China’s gross domestic product will overtake that of the U.S. by 2030, yet China enjoys developing nation status that allows it preference in trade disputes and more freedom to subsidize its exports.

“When the wealthiest economies claim developing-country status, they harm not only other developed economies but also economies that truly require special and differential treatment.  Such disregard for adherence to WTO rules, including the likely disregard of any future rules, cannot continue to go unchecked,” the memo stated.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) talks with Sen. Ben Cardin during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on June 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) talks with Sen. Ben Cardin during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on June 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Trump’s memo asks Lighthizer to report his progress after 60 days, reported The AP. If the WTO does not begin to capitulate after 90 days, the U.S. will stop giving special treatment to the so-called developing countries, which include Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

The U.S. and China have been in a tariff battle under Trump’s leadership, prompting many companies to rethink being based in the giant country. He has criticized the WTO for its treatment of China and other countries before. He made the same complaint on Twitter in April 2018.

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