DiMicco: U.S. may have to walk away from WTO

A former member of President Donald Trump’s trade transition team says the U.S. may need to “walk away” from the WTO—the World Trade Organization—if China doesn’t start playing by the rules.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Dan DiMicco, former president and CEO of Nucor Steel, said China has not lived up to the promises it made when joining WTO and no one is holding the country accountable.

“If people are not willing to renegotiate in good faith and promote fair trade, then (Trump) will have some tough decisions to make,” Dimicco said, “and I think he’s up to the challenge of whatever he believes is necessary to make sure we get fair negotiations and fair treatment in these world bodies, including walking away.”

DiMicco says China has been unfairly allowed to reap the benefits of the WTO without cutting back on its own protectionist policies, to the harm of other members like the U.S.

“President Trump, during his election run, made it very clear that if we cannot get the WTO to enforce the rules that everybody agreed to when they joined up, that the WTO will have lost its effectiveness and we will re-evaluate whether we even belong to the WTO or not,” said DiMicco.

The purpose of the WTO is to support free trade of goods and services across borders and oppose governments attempting to protect national industries with subsidies and taxes on imports.

China was the number two market for U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2016, behind Canada.

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