US Commerce chief Wilbur Ross says 'premature' to talk WTO withdrawal: CNBC
Wilbur Ross stands after being sworn in as Secretary of Commerce in Washington, DC, U.S. February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday it was “premature” for the United States to discuss any withdrawal from the World Trade Organization.

“WTO knows some reforms are needed. I think there really is a need to update and synchronize its activities and we’ll see where that leads,” Ross told CNBC. “But I think it’s a little premature to talk about simply withdrawing from it.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has sharply criticized the trade organization. Axios last week reported he wants to withdraw from it, drawing a prompt denial on Friday from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The news website reported on Sunday the Republican president, who has made fighting unfair trade rules a pillar of his presidency, has ordered that legislation be written stipulating a WTO withdrawal.

“We’ve made no secret of our view that there are some reforms needed at the WTO,” Ross said.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe