The World Trade Organization is a “very ineffective court” that allows countries to levy high tariffs, but President Donald Trump wants to move toward a world that offers free and fair trade for every country, White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett said Tuesday.
“What I think the president is frustrated with is that the WTO process is ineffective,” Hassett told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
“If you look at the way China steals our intellectual property, we could complain to the WTO and might win on a specific case, but it could take five years and by the China has the property.”
The WTO, he continued, allows countries to charge high taxes “as large as they charge them to everybody else,” but at the same time “locks in a system where countries can put big tariffs on our stuff while we have low tariffs on their stuff,” and Trump finds that “unfair.”
Trump early Tuesday tweeted that the U.S. economy is “doing perhaps better than ever before, and that’s prior to fixing some of the worst and most unfair trade deals ever made by any country.”
Hassett said he has not heard any news that Trump plans to exit the WTO, “but we are very serious about working to reform it.”
“What do you do when you have a serial abuser like China and they continue to abuse [us] because the WTO rules are timid?” he said. “An easier process after country has stolen intellectual property to remove a country from the WTO and those are the kinds of debates we need to be having.”
Trump, he added, is “standing up for the American worker in a way that previous presidents haven’t. If you look at the maltreatment of our own exports by other countries, it’s really not acceptable to any American and to this president and he is taking strong action to try to get that.”
It would be in the best interest of countries around the world to follow Trump’s plan for free and fair trade, said Hassett.
“My guess is he wrote the book ‘The Art of the Deal,’ how you get to the positive equal, no economic theory,” said Hassett. “You need somebody who is an artist as making deals. I think America right now has the best shot it’s ever had. ”
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