WTO chief says 'no panic' over Trump withdrawal threat

Trump threatens to pull out of WTO 'if they don't shape up'

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The US last week blocked the reappointment of a judge to the Geneva-based institution, which regulates global trade and helps to resolve disputes between nations.

"If they don't shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO", Mr Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg News at the White House.

He claimed that the establishment of the body in 1994 had been "the single worst trade deal ever made" and that it had treated the United States "very badly for many years". China is a thorn, per US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who views China's 2001 entry into the body as a mistake.

Since taking over the White House after the 2016 elections, President Trump has rattled the world trade with his policies that he says are aimed at protecting American interests, but which have alienated numerous US' old allies and major trading partners.

Lighthizer has accused the WTO dispute-settlement system of interfering with USA sovereignty, particularly on anti-dumping cases.

In the interview, Trump said that at the WTO, "we rarely won a lawsuit, except for previous year".

On Monday, the United States told the WTO it would block the reappointment of one of its four remaining appeals judges next month, confirming trade experts' fears of a crisis in the system for settling global rows. "You know why? Because they know if we don't, I'm out of there".

Countries that bring complaints to the WTO tend to prevail and defendants in trade disputes lose.

While global economic growth remains strong, Azevedo said, protectionism continues to cause turbulence, threatening to rise across the world, with Trump tariffs producing a domino effect of sorts, effectively forcing other countries to respond with retaliatory measures.

However, WTO data showed that the USA does slightly better than the WTO average in both cases it files and that are filed against it, said Simon Lester, a trade analyst at the Cato Institute, a Washington policy group that favors more open global trade.

The EU has been leading an effort to propose reforms to try and defuse the conflict. In fact, trade has been very much at the top of his agenda since he came to office and this is not the first time he has claimed the USA gets a bad deal.

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