Fears of global trade war as Trump stands his ground

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The letter specifically mentions the tax cuts the Trump administration and Congress worked so hard to pass just previous year, saying that "adding new taxes in the form of broad tariffs would undermine this remarkable progress".

Political voices across Europe have echoed critics in the US urging Trump to drop his metal-tariffs plan, saying it would cause more economic harm than good and fail to address the root problem of overcapacity in China. Lawmakers of his own Republican Party have been turning up the pressure, warning of severe political and economic ramifications and the potential for a trade war from such broad-based measures.

The EU has grown increasingly exasperated with Trump's "America First" agenda, viewing it as a threat to the multilateral trade order that the US played a leading role in building after the Second World War.

But Trump 's aggressive plan to punish abusers by imposing 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, against friend and foe alike, angered United States trading partners. They also recommended doing a short-term review of the effects of the tariffs on the economy to decide whether or not the approach is working.

Australia, Canada and Mexico are among the countries trying to dodge the Trump administration's proposed 25 per cent tariff on steel and 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports. The Canadian dollar was down 0.21 percent to 1.29 per US dollar.

Cohn led the charge on a tax cut proposal approved by Congress in December, but lost the internal struggle against more protectionist voices over trade tariffs.

"Gary brought a strong growth orientation for the economy and a very balanced perspective, particularly on critical topics like trade, " said Rich Lesser, chief executive of the Boston Consulting Group, who served on one of Trump's business advisory panels previous year and attended policy meetings with Cohn.

"Trade wars are bad and easy to lose", EU President Donald Tusk told a news conference Wednesday, directly rebuffing Trump's assertion last week that they were "good and easy to win".

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The looming departure of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has opposed the promised tariffs, set off anxiety among business leaders and investors anxious about a potential trade war.

"He's already indicated a degree of flexibility, I think a very sensible, very balanced degree of flexibility", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC. In August, amid rumors that he might resign, stock prices fell before an administration spokesman said that Cohn planned to stay.

"What good has ever come from trade wars that result in a decrease in economic activity?" "For this reason, I strongly believe that now is the time for politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to act responsibly".

Source tells Fox News that the former White House communications director told the House Intelligence Committee that the compromised email address was one that she had since college and is not associated with Trump or the White House.

The European Union has warned it could retaliate on United States imports, including products such as motorbikes, bourbon and jeans. A White House official said Trump was referencing an ongoing investigation of China in which the US trade representative is studying whether Chinese intellectual property rules are "unreasonable or discriminatory" to American business. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said there was concern Trump's plan could lead to such disruptive turmoil.

Trump claimed the United States last year had a trade deficit of "almost 800 Billion Dollars", significantly overstating the actual figure of $566 billion, which still was the biggest USA trade deficit in nine years.

"We're cautiously optimistic on NAFTA", Mnuchin said.

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