President Trump is threatening to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization — a move that would cast uncertainty over trillions of dollars worth of trade — during private conversations with his aides, Axios reports. "He's [threatened to withdraw] 100 times," said one person who's had such a conversation with the president. "It would totally [screw] us as a country."
Trump reportedly perceives the WTO as taking advantage of the United States, although his own administration's research has found that America has won more than 85 percent of its cases before the WTO since 1995 (China has won just over 66 percent, by comparison). Trump's advisers have reportedly warned him against withdrawal, noting that it would send global markets into turmoil.
Withdrawing from the WTO requires Congress to be on board; Trump technically cannot do much more than make the notification at the WTO. A trade lawyer in Washington downplayed the likelihood of Trump actually acting on his rants: "We think he's nuts, but not that nuts."