House Republicans express 'deep concern' about Trump tariffs

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There are some indications from the White House that the tariff threat might continue to be lorded over Canada and Mexico as a negotiating weapon, in an effort to prod them into a new NAFTA deal. He says it's "not inconceivable that others could be exempted on a similar basis".

Cohn, who still heads up President Donald Trump's National Economic Council until he leaves in the coming weeks, announced his resignation Tuesday amid the president's pending trade war over tariffs for aluminum and steel products.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House was "on pace for an announcement" on the trade penalties "at the end of this week".

The White House on Wednesday raised the possibility that impending hefty USA tariffs on steel and aluminium imports could exclude a clutch of countries other than Canada and Mexico as President Donald Trump planned to authorise the measures on Thursday. "We want to balance our needs to fix the trade deficit with the needs of the economy, and the needs of the global economy itself", he said. "This is part of those discussions".

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is in NY and seeking talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to press Australia's case for an exemption.

The White House senior staff under Trump saw a 34% turnover rate in 2017, compared with first-year turnover rates of 9% under former President Barack Obama, 6% under President George W. Bush and 11% under president Bill Clinton, according to Cowen & Co analyst Chris Krueger.

Congressional Republicans and industry groups are pressing the president to narrow his plan for across-the-board tariffs.

"It makes investors less anxious if the tariff isn't applied so broadly", said Janna Sampson, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

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Donald Trump’s lawyer said last month he paid Ms Clifford $US130,000 out of his own pocket

A day after the resignation of his economic adviser, Gary Cohn, and despite strong push back from Republican lawmakers, the White House said Trump was ready to move forward with his tariffs plan by the end of the week.

"We are for free trade, we don't want to build walls around our territory", she told AAP in Canberra on Wednesday night. A meeting planned for Thursday at the White House with executives from companies that could be hurt by tariffs has now been canceled. I'd prefer Larry Kudlow, who supported Trump early and loudly, and who had considerable input into the tax reform legislation. "Absolutely. There's an openness now", Perdue said.

"But I don't think [Cohn] feels the process was fair and I think that's the big difference", Holtz-Eakin added.

Stocks pared some of their losses after the White House indicated there might be exceptions to the tariffs for Canada, Mexico and other countries.

WHAT IT MEANS: Notice here that Cohn didn't leave after Trump's white-supremacist comments, or after he did any of the many things he does that target minorities and immigrants and LGBTQ people. The only name now in wide circulation is Larry Kudlow, the economic commentator and former Reagan administration official.

American labor unions have also broadly favored Trump's proposed tariffs, saying they have been complaining for years that foreign countries frequently subsidize their own steel industries, putting American competitors at a disadvantage.

Mr Trump and his supporters have focused their ire on cheap Chinese steel, which they blame for problems in the United States steel industry. Whatever benefits may have come from Trump's other economic policies, an assault on free trade will doubtlessly erode them. So prices will go up for US manufacturers who rely heavily on steel and aluminum, but actually go down for their foreign competitors, likely hurting more USA manufacturing jobs among steel-using companies than will be created among steel-making ones. And investors are more than a little freaked out about the turn of events.