Trump threatens to pull US out of World Trade Organisation

MONACA, UNITED STATES: President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to pull the United States out of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if conditions are not improved.

"We will leave if we have to," Mr Trump told a cheering audience of workers at a Shell chemical plant in Pennsylvania.

"We know that they have been screwing us for years and it's not going to happen again."

Mr Trump has made the WTO the target of many attacks, and threatened before to withdraw, claiming the US has been treated unfairly.

He is especially critical about the terms granted to China when it joined the organisation, given US complaints about Chinese theft of American technology.

But the US in fact has a successful track record of winning disputes mediated by the global trading body.

While calling for reforms to the institution's rules, the Trump administration also has effectively paralysed its work.

With naming of new members to the appellate panel of the Dispute Settlement Body blocked, the arbitration system will grind to a halt by the end of the year.

Mr Chad Bown, a trade expert with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said the moves weakening the WTO have done "lasting damage," not all of which can be reversed. - AFP