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White House may ignore some World Trade Organization rulings

by Glenn Hess, special to C&EN
March 6, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 10

The Trump Administration’s new “America first” trade policy means the U.S. will not necessarily comply with rulings made by the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to a report the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative sent to Congress. Challenging the authority of the WTO, which regulates trade and resolves disputes among its members, signals a sharp break from past U.S. policy. “Ever since the United States won its independence, it has been a basic principle of our country that American citizens are subject only to laws and regulations made by the U.S. government—not rulings made by foreign governments or international bodies,” the document says. “The Trump Administration will aggressively defend American sovereignty over matters of trade policy.” The report says the Administration will work to eliminate trade barriers that unfairly block U.S. exports while strictly enforcing domestic trade laws to prevent its markets from being “distorted by dumped and/or subsidized imports that harm domestic industries and workers.” The White House will also update existing trade agreements as needed to “reflect changing times and market conditions.” Trade policy is important to the U.S. chemical industry because it is one of the largest exporting sectors.


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