KREMLIN says WTO will be in doubt if United States left. President Trump has threatened to pull U.S, out of WTO.

MOSCOW : The Kremlin said on Wednesday that the existence of the World Trade Organization [WTO] would be in serious doubt if major economies such as the United States left it, a prospect raised a day earlier by US President Donald Trump.

The Kremlin made the comment in response to a question about US media reports which said Trump had threatened on Tuesday to pull out out of the WTO over what he described as the organization's unfair treatment of the United States.

''It is obvious that the existence of  keystone international economic organizations [like the WTO]  would be called into serious question after the exit of the biggest economies on earth,'' Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Earlier on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump threatened to pull the United States out of WTO if conditions were not improved.

''We will leave if we have to,'' Trump told a cheering audience of workers at a Shell Chemical plant in Pennsylvania. ''We know they have been screwing us for years and it's not going to happen again,'' he said.

Trump has made the WTO the target of many previous attacks, and threatened before to withdraw, claiming unfair treatment towards the US saying Washington does have to abide by WTO rulings.

He was especially critical about the terms granted to China when it joined the organization, given US complaints about Chinese theft of American technology.

But the US in fact, has a successful track record of winning disputes mediated by the global trading body.

While calling for reforms to the institution's rules, the Trump administration also had effectively paralyzed its work. By blocking the naming of the members to the appellate panel part of the Dispute Settlement body that arbitrates disputes, the system would grind to a halt by the end of the year.

Chad Brown, a trade expert with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said the moves weakening the WTO has done ''lasting damage'', not all of which can be recovered. [Reuters]


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