The president of EE. US, Donald Trump, threatened in an interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday to withdraw from the World Trade Organization if "they do not adapt". in his last criticism of the institution.
Such a measure could undermine one of the foundations of the modern global trading system, which the United States was instrumental in creation.
"If they do not take shape, I would withdraw from the WTO," Trump said.
Trump has complained that the United States receives unfair treatment in world trade and has blamed the WTO for allowing that to happen. He also warned that he could take action against the world body, although he has not specified what form it could take.
He rejected as "not good enough" a proposal by the European Union to eliminate tariffs on cars, a measure that threatens to amplify a transatlantic trade dispute that simmers.
And he told his advisers he is ready to impose tariffs on $ 200 billion more in Chinese imports as soon as a public comment period on the plan ends next week, Bloomberg News reported in a story published just before publishing an interview. with Trump.
The rebound in US stocks UU It stopped due to new concerns that the trade dispute between the US will intensify. UU And China.
Outside: Trump has complained that the United States receives unfair treatment in world trade and has blamed the WTO for allowing that to happen; now he is threatening to leave it.
Just a few hours earlier, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem had said that the bloc was prepared to reduce … our car tariffs to zero & # 39; provided the United States did the same.
"It's not good enough," Trump told Bloomberg News in an interview in the Oval Office, speaking of the Brussels offer.
"Their consumer habits are buying their cars, not buying our cars."
The White House in July tried to defuse the trade tiff when Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met and pledged to work for a limited trade agreement that would eliminate customs tariffs, but excluded the auto sector.
Trump on Thursday also compared the EU with China. He has reportedly threatened to impose import taxes of $ 200 billion on Chinese goods, as a trade war intensifies with Beijing.
"The European Union is almost as bad as China, just smaller," said Trump.
And attendees told Bloomberg that Trump would pass $ 200 billion in fees as soon as a public consultation was completed.
The White House declined to comment on the Bloomberg report, which cited six unidentified sources, and was published the same day of its interview with Trump.
The report deflated the markets. The S & P touched lows in the session, and the US dollar, the Chinese yuan and US Treasury yields. UU They also fell.
Trump has credited his electoral success to his hard-line trade, which he says has harmed American workers and favors foreign competitors.
Washington is demanding that Beijing improve market access and intellectual property protection for US companies, reduce industrial subsidies and reduce the $ 375 billion trade gap.
The two largest economies in the world already applied tariffs to $ 50 billion of each other's goods in an eye-for-eye trade war. The talks aimed at easing tensions ended last week without major advances.
The new proposed tariffs of 25 percent would affect consumer products, including supplies for housing construction, technology products, bicycles and clothing.
The public comment period on the proposal is expected to end on September 6, and Trump plans to impose tariffs after that deadline, said Bloomberg.
Market fears: the Dow Jones lost 137 points due to fears of an accelerated trade war, the first fall of the week. Other key indices, including the NASDAQ, also fell
Some sources said Trump had not made his final decision, according to the Bloomberg report. Officials of the Trump administration have been divided over how difficult it is to put pressure on Beijing.
Trump, who threatened to impose tariffs on virtually all of the more than $ 500 billion of Chinese products exported to the United States each year, told Reuters in an interview earlier this month that resolving the trade war with China "would take time." and that he did not have "time" to finish it.
Its threat to the WTO comes at a time when its protectionist policies have unleashed a wave of trade wars, and the institution best positioned to help resolve trade disputes faces an ever deeper crisis.
This week, Washington blocked the re-election of a WTO judge, increasing the risk that he may soon find himself unable to fulfill his key role in arbitrating disputes.
Stock markets and the main yields on government bonds have increased in recent weeks in the hope that a global trade war will be avoided, particularly when US and Canadian leaders expressed optimism that they could reach a new Free Trade Agreement. of North America for Friday.
Investor sentiment was darkened, however, at the prospect of a new round of US tariffs. on Chinese products may enter into force in September.