Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Tariff fiasco costs Trump ally in Gary Cohn

Tariff fiasco costs Trump ally in Gary Cohn

President Donald Trump signed proclamations Thursday slapping USA tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum from nearly every country, with the penalties snapping into effect in 15 days.

Likewise, Trump's invitation to countries to plead their case for being exempted from the tariffs might prove a tough sell.

The departure of top economic adviser Gary Cohn, a "globalist" free trader who fought a losing battle against tariffs, is a stark sign that President Trump intends to pursue aggressive trade policies despite opposition from allies across the globe and within the White House itself.

More significantly, Trump will soon decide how to handle a major pending trade case involving China's abuse of intellectual property rights. "We're not looking for a trade war".

Stock prices moved higher with the proposed plans of tax cuts and deregulation by President Trump.

The wall prototypes represent the signature promise of Trump's campaign: To build a "big, lovely wall" along the U.S. -Mexico border.

The official said the tariffs would impact the renegotiation of the bilateral free trade deal with the United States that is now underway. The order leaves out Canada and Mexico but applies to every other nation, according to the White House.

Pennsylvania Democrats aim to draw in union workers who voted for Trump
Trump ignored their outstretched hand on universal background checks and started talking more about arming teachers. Trump also said he spoke with Singaporean leaders about the country's "zero tolerance policy" toward drug dealers.

European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom vowed to press for an EU exemption from US tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum when she meets her American counterpart in Brussels on Saturday. As Gary Cohn joins Hope Hicks in resignation, it seems as though the Trump administration has failed to fill in the shoes of top government officials. Trump said he was merely fulfilling a campaign promise, saying he had been talking about perceived trade injustices "a long time, a lot longer than my political career".

The White House regimen included a weekly trade policy meeting in the Roosevelt Room where aides with opposing views could talk through ideas to ensure recommendations brought to the president were fully vetted and legally sound.

But if the WTO affirms Trump's justification for tariffs, it could encourage other countries to follow the USA example: They could use national security as a pretext for tariffs of their own.

Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. Cohn's departure has reduced the chances of flexibility. A longtime proponent of free trade, he believed the decision could jeopardize economic growth.

Securing a greater balance in trade with China will also be hard if Trump resorts to punitive measures. He waited as tariff decision deadlines set by Ross ticked closer, and the White House turned its attention back to trade after deciding to table the divisive issue while it worked on health care and taxes.

In the end though, said Paul, "I think it's pretty clear that the president is siding with the economic nationalists".

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