The Trump administration is looking to reform the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by removing countries like China from a list of developing nations who receive preferential treatment under international commerce rules.
The White House noted that some of the world’s wealthiest nations on a per capita basis are listed as developing countries, including oil-rich nations like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), along with regional powers like Turkey, South Korea and Mexico.
“When the wealthiest economies claim developing country status, they harm not only other developed economies but also economies that truly require special and differential treatment,” a White House statement said.
The new policy will seek to ensure that advanced economies can no longer avail themselves of unwarranted benefits, despite abundant evidence of economic strength. The perks include trade safeguards and longer transition periods for new rules.
The White House order allows the U.S. Trade Representative Office to compile a list of self-described developing nations that it believes should be labelled differently, possibly setting up punitive measures.
“The WTO is BROKEN when the world’s RICHEST countries claim to be developing countries to avoid WTO rules and get special treatment. NO more!!! Today I directed the U.S. Trade Representative to take action so that countries stop CHEATING the system at the expense of the USA!,” U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter.