Photo taken on April 12, 2018 shows the abbreviation WTO on the wall of the World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday that it's "a little premature" to discuss the United States withdrawing from the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"We've made no secret of our view that there are some reforms needed at the WTO," Ross said in an interview with CNBC.
"There really is a need to update and synchronize its activities, and we'll see where that leads. But I think it's a little premature to talk about simply withdrawing from it," he said.
Ross's remarks came after Axios, a U.S. political website, reported on Sunday that the White House has drafted a bill that would allow President Donald Trump to ignore fundamental WTO rules and unilaterally raise tariffs against other countries.
But White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said the Trump administration had no plans to roll out the legislation, according to the Axios report.
"The only way this would be news is if this were actual legislation that the administration was preparing to rollout, but it's not," Walters said.
Trump also said on Friday that he was not considering pulling the United States out of the WTO despite his dissatisfaction with the international trade body.
"I'm not talking about pulling out. I'm saying they haven't treated us fairly. We have not been treated fairly," Trump told reporters.
While Trump has been critical of the WTO since on the campaign trail, withdrawing from the WTO would require a joint resolution from U.S. Congress, according to local media.
The U.S. implementing legislation for the agreement that created the WTO allows Congress to vote on withdrawal every five years, Politico reported on Monday.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted in 2000 and 2005 on resolutions to withdraw from the WTO, but both measures failed by votes of 363-56 and 338-86, respectively, according to the report.