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Mnuchin denies Trump wants out of WTO

In an interview with Fox Business Network, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied an Axios report that President Trump has been privately suggesting that he wants the US to withdraw from the World Trade Organization.

Posted: Jul 1, 2018 9:47 AM
Updated: Jul 1, 2018 10:05 AM

President Donald Trump has been privately suggesting that he wants the US to withdraw from the World Trade Organization, according to a new report.

Trump has been repeatedly telling White House officials he wants out from the global trade organization, Axios reported Friday.

"He's (threatened to withdraw) 100 times. It would totally (screw) us as a country," a source who's discussed the subject with Trump told Axios.

The source also told the publication that Trump has lamented, "We always get f---ed by them. I don't know why we're in it. The WTO is designed by the rest of the world to screw the United States."

The President's economic advisers have pushed back when Trump raises the idea of withdrawing from the organization that regulates international trade, Axios reported, citing sources with direct knowledge.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin pushed back against the report during an interview Friday morning with Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo, calling it "fake news."

"This is an exaggeration. The President has been clear with us and with others. He has concerns about the WTO. He thinks there's aspects of it that are not fair. He thinks that China and others have used it to their own advantage," Mnuchin said.

CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.

About 160 countries belong to the WTO, including the US, the UK, Canada, Mexico and China.

The WTO serves as a place to negotiate changes to existing agreements and, when issues come up, for member countries to mediate any disputes.

The report comes after Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from the US' biggest trading partners and slapped tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods.

Trump has publicly complained about the WTO. At a listening session with steel and aluminum executives at the White House in March, Trump said that the "WTO has been a disaster for this country."

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