White House Prepares For Trade War, Warns US "Will Not Be Bound By WTO Decisions"

Tyler Durden's picture

In the latest warning from the White House that it is set to unleash trade policy that will be in sharp conflict with generally accepted trade norms, most likely a reference to some form of Border Adjustment Tax, the Trump administration has warned that the U.S. isn't and won't bound by decisions made at the World Trade Organization, in outlining a new trade agenda that "promises to root out unfair practices by foreign countries" and to escalate what are already simmering trade conflicts.

According to a document obtained by Bloomberg News and titled “2017 Trade Policy Agenda”, the US plans to defend its “national sovereignty over trade policy,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in an annual document laying out the president’s trade agenda. The reason for the loophole: under the terms of its entry into the WTO, the U.S. didn’t abandon its trade rights. “Given this history, it is important to recall also that Congress had made clear that Americans are not directly subject to WTO decisions,” according to the trade office, which takes the lead in negotiating trade deals.

As Bloomberg adds the Trump administration’s skepticism toward the WTO, the Geneva-based body that referees trade disputes, signals a new willingness by the world’s biggest economy to pursue its interests - even if it means undermining the global order the U.S. has led since World War II.

“It reflects their belief that the global system isn’t serving U.S. interests and they’re going to do all they can to rewrite in favor of U.S. interests,” said Adam Taylor, a former senior Canadian trade official based in Ottawa. “The biggest worry is that you can’t have the rules that govern the global trading system being ignored by one party and expect the system to keep functioning.”

The Bloomberg report confirms what we reported several weeks ago when according to the FT, the EU and other US trading partners have begun preparing for a legal challenge to a US border tax proposal in a move that "could trigger the biggest case in World Trade Organization history." The reason is that "the EU and other US trading partners are worried about the impact on their exports and have been deploying lawyers with a view to eventually challenging it before the global trade watchdog."

However, if according to the Trump administration, such claims are unfounded as the US never agreed to be bound by them, it virtually guarantees significant complications when it comes to global trade relations as soon as more details of Trump's protectionist trade policies emerge.

The overarching purpose of the administration’s trade policy will be to “expand trade in a way that is freer and fairer for all Americans,” according to the report. “Every action we take with respect to trade will be designed to increase our economic growth, promote job creation in the United States, promote reciprocity with our trading partners, strengthen our manufacturing base and our ability to defend ourselves, and expand our agricultural and services industry exports,” it said.

These goals can be better met by focusing on bilateral negotiations than multilateral deals, the government said. Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement with 11 other nations. He has also said the U.S. plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada and level the playing field with China.

Additionally, the U.S. will work to break down unfair trade barriers in markets that block U.S. exports, while strictly enforcing U.S. trade laws to prevent the U.S. market from being “distorted by dumped and/or subsidized imports that harm domestic industries and workers,” the USTR report said. The U.S. will update existing trade deals as necessary to “reflect changing times and market conditions.”

It is such bilateral relations, however, that concern existing US trade partners who have carefully constructed pre-existing trade arrangements, and which the White House implicitly warns will be abrogated without fears of penalty or legal consequence.

The Trump administration will also resist efforts by other countries, or international bodies such as the WTO, to “advance interpretations that would weaken the rights and benefits” of the U.S. under its trade agreements, the government said.

In short: despite Trump's "paliative" speech last night, at least when it comes to global commerce relations, trade wars are virtually assured.

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knukles's picture

I did not vote for Trump to like him
I voted for him to Unfuck America

BullyBearish's picture

I did not vote for trump to like him...

flaminratzazz's picture

I did not vote..tried it once.. crakhead jr ruined it for me.

little weaseling 9-11 instigating prick should have his nutz nailed to the floor and then pliers and a blow torch.

eatthebanksters's picture

This is great!  For the first time Wall Street traders will need to earn their keep instead of ramping up every day and buying the fucking dip.

But you know, especially with Trump's infrastructure program and defense spending that inflation is coming...maybe the target will be 3%?  If he's creating good paying jobs it won't matter and then his debt will be shrunk.  

For sure he's slashing wasteful government spending, reworking rediculous contracts, and creating new revenues sources (ex. Nato finally paying their share).  This shit might actually work out...what do you expect from a successful businessman?

HowdyDoody's picture

The US, before skulkng off to its safe space, said:

"Using the WTO against us is unfair. We intended it to be used to coerce other countries."

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) HowdyDoody Mar 1, 2017 5:04 PM

Trump: Making America Tough Again (MATA)


popeye's picture

First FATCA, now effectively withdrawal from the WTO. Isolationist policies lead to just that - isolation. May sound great if you are American, short term, but if you make it too hard for others to trade with you, they wont. They look to other markets, other opportunities, alternative sources, or reinvigoated domestic production (see the Russians post-sanctions as an example).


Not sure thats really a win in the long run.

4freedom78's picture

He really care the American workers and in the long run is good for the whole country and the world too.

Son of Loki's picture

I liked his words last night that he was elected to represent the United States people, not foreign nations.

That was one of my favorite parts.

bowie28's picture

This should get interesting when the globalist stooges start filing lawsuits in US Federal courts trying to compel the Trump admin to adhere to rules and decisions dictated by WTO and other globalist entities.

CheapBastard's picture

The law can be harsh at times. Look how they prosecuted Obama for war cimres and HIllary for all those federal crimes.

Oh, an dhow about Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq?

I wish they had gone softer on these criminals.


Bottom line, When you are holding the Biggest gun in town, you ARE the law.

Killdo's picture

only if sorrounded by pussies

Duc888's picture



I voted for Trump to keep Hillary out.  Sitting home was not an option.

flaminratzazz's picture

i was hoping for Hillary, that way would could get this shit over with.. Trump is a slow death,

Hillary would have been a lot of explosions and shitloads of fire..everywhere.

Now i am bored.

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

w/ Hillary "the right" would have not been pacified as they are now.  Trump is actually worse.  They're in his Trump-trance while his squid buddies sack the Treasury. 

flaminratzazz's picture

The swamp is now a tidal wave from adding all those creatures

Doña K's picture

Without the bankers, nobody can preside. Even a military coup will collapse given time.

Doña K's picture

Maybe just maybe a competative parallel finacial system (Russia-China) can moderate the theft 

Jack's Raging Bile Duct's picture

That was my stance. The system will inevitably fail, so I wanted it to happen under the reigns of those responsible. Likewise, the sooner things burst, the better (in the long run). I also did not want a massive percentage of the population to go back to sleep, now that their mascot was figurehead. While I don't care for Trump, most of what he has done has been to reduce the scope of The Fedcoats, so I will give him a chance. Even still, I am highly skeptical and not optimistic.

jeff montanye's picture

so did i.  the hillary clinton/neocon/neoliberal side of the democratic party and the warmongering/mccain/graham side of the republican party seem to be starting a mind meld.

what would happen if that occurred with the bernie sanders/anti-war/occupy wall street side of the democratic party and the trump/libertarian/antizionist parts of the republican party?  what could they agree on and actually get done?

end too big to jail?  stop the war in ukraine, in syria?

check this out: https://theintercept.com/2017/02/28/the-new-yorkers-big-cover-story-reve...

NugginFuts's picture

I did not vote for Trump or like him.

The central planners's picture

So Trump decided to declare the war against everybody execpt the FED and Israel. Very genius!!

brianshell's picture

and they still hate him. Go figure.

The central planners's picture

Its their way to manipulate him, and its working.

crossroaddemon's picture

Don't believe anything you see in the press. Behind closed doors they are friends.

fbazzrea's picture

So Trump decided to declare the war against everybody execpt the FED...

not exactly... most folks haven't thought far enough ahead to realize what happens to a global currency reserve nation with a trade surplus. Triffin's Dilemma. available fiat money to service debt contracts sharply. scarcity drives dollar higher. emerging market debtors tank with local currencies devaluing against $10T USD faster than local inflation rates. massive defaults. BRICS dumping USTs. no US credit market. looming $1T annual US budget deficits. 30-yr bull bond market drops like a Led Zeppelin (; with no bid equities. etc. etc. etc...


Will it go round in circles, will it fly high like a bird up in the sky? I got a story ain't no moral, I let the bad guy win every once in a while

without a crash crisis no impetus for overhauling global monetary system. it's all in the cards but i suspect the Fed will be dealt out.


but who knows?? maybe Trump and his team of deplorable banksters?

Raffie's picture


GreatUncle's picture

And by doing so unfuck every other nation in the world :-) that's a win all round.

It's fucking bollocks if representatives do not represent their population whoever they may be while those same representatives sell out and fill their own pockets at the expense of their populations.


Idaho potato head's picture

Yes well let's see how he handles himself with seasoned dealmakers.


Cassandra.Hermes's picture

I did not vote for Trump, but he is making me rich, never knew so many company will turn to my services because they are scared by him.

Go Trump be total asshole and i'll retire on 50!!!

orangegeek's picture

WTO = HQ in Geneva.  Hmmm, just like the UN.




Run your own US WTO as you probably will Donald.

BarkingCat's picture

UN is headquartered in Geneva??

Is there a neighborhood in New York that is name Geneva that I am not aware of?

lester1's picture

Other countries have tariffs at the border so why can't we ???


We either have free trade or we don't !!

Raffie's picture

They have suckled on the America's teat for many decades and now we want to ween them off and they are having a fit.

Many countries need to grow up and put their Big Country Pants on.

The central planners's picture

The US has a tariff on every single human of this earth it called the dollar as a world reserve currency.

HRClinton's picture

Once again, you people are chasing Greyhound Rabbits. As intdened.

The real long-term objective, is to show to the world and its anti-globalism holdouts, that Isolationism does not work.  Not if you want all those nice things that you've becomed used to, and have them at a price that you can afford. You are being set up for a very painful lesson.

The choice will be Consumerism v. Nationalism.  Both have their pros and cons. Both have their price.

The Globalist bet is that eventually the masses will come around, and submit to a Global market place, with virtually no borders or limitations. This includes the billionaires, our militarists and our money masters.

ArthurDaley-OldieTimeTrader's picture


Price doesn't matter when you don't have a job? 


We've anew middle class, YEA! Only that this middle class now lives outside Beijing !

Son of Loki's picture

Another day of Winning....feels sooooo good!

slightlyskeptical's picture

I can understand the rationale for not wanting to import goods we can make here. However, I do not understand how that is compatible with the desire to sell more of our goods elsewhere.

NugginFuts's picture

Smoot-Hawley called. They want their trade policy back.

SMG's picture

Smoot-Hawley did not cause the depression, it was the Globalist controlled Federal Reserve.   They pinned the undeserved blame on smoot-hawley to further their Globalist agenda.   Even back then.

NugginFuts's picture

Where did I say Smoot-Hawley caused it? Even Bernanke says the Fed caused it. Smoot-Hawley made it worse by sparking protectionist trade wars. 

Don't believe me? Wait and see what happens when we try it again. 

SMG's picture

This coming depression is 100% caused by the Fed and it's bubble blowing and debt creation. Cancell all the debt, end the fed and let's go back to an asset backed currency like it says in the constitution.

ReZn8r's picture

we don't make anything as of yet.

crossroaddemon's picture

And good FUCKING luck getting any factories built here that are not fully automated. It. Won't. Happen.

FrankDrakman's picture

The problem is, China doesn't have an EPA hamstringing its producers - look at the air pollution in Beijing, for example. China doesn't have labour laws outlawing 60 hour work weeks. China doesn't have a thousand regulations that need forms filled out in triplicate, and when they do, it's easier to bribe the official than fill them in. etc. etc.

That is not 'free and fair trade'; that is one party tying itself up in knots while the other party gets to dance around. Why should some Chinese entrepeneur get rich while Americans starve because the Chinese guy can pollute the environment, drive his employees to suicide, and flout regulations so his crap (and I use the term deliberately) is $5 cheaper than an American product? 

Smith didn't consider externalities in that statement; since everyone in the developed world at the time was roughly at the same level of technology, it didn't matter. Things are different today. 

coast1's picture

my conclusion is zerohedge is just another distraction, but also brings some good posters now and then.... I hardly ever even read the article, I just look at comments...

 Anyway, growing way above all of this, and if you care to take time, here is an interview with jeff rense and david icke..