U.S. to debate quitting World Trade Organization
July 9, 2020 - America’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization is the latest in a series of controversial decisions by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull out of international agreements.
Since his inauguration in January 2017, Trump set the tone of his presidency, first quitting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, arguing that the world’s largest free trade deal would harm U.S. manufacturing.
Since then, the Trump administration has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord, UNESCO, the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia and the 35-nation Open Skies Treaty.
Now, House of Representatives and Senate parliamentarians have cleared the way for votes in late July on the president’s latest trade threat -- a pair of resolutions to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Trump has long disparaged the international body of 164 nations, which the United States co-founded to serve as a trade negotiator and trade referee for member nations.
Under legislation Congress approved in 1994, lawmakers can decide every five years whether the U.S. should continue its WTO membership. In 2000 and 2005, Congress overwhelmingly rejected resolutions of withdrawal. In 2000, the motion was dismissed on a 56-363 vote in the House, and the 2005 resolution fell on an 86-338 vote. No votes occurred in 2010 and 2015.
If congress votes in favour of leaving, the Trump administration is required to give a six-month notice period which will likely result in a major legal fight.
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