UPDATE 1-US Commerce chief Ross says 'premature' to talk WTO withdrawal -CNBC

(Adds background on reports Trump wants to withdraw from WTO)

WASHINGTON, July 2 (Reuters) - 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)