Alberta signs letter to US President Donald Trump opposing steel tariffs

Gary Cohn director of the National Economic Council said late Tuesday he would resign after he lost a fight over tariffs

President Trump's tariffs on steel, aluminum create odd political bedfellows - but will they start a trade war? Editorial Board Roundtable

Cohn, who had been rumored just weeks ago as a potential next chief of staff, will leave the White House in the wake of his fierce disagreement with the President's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

"The President acknowledged some studies have indicated there is a correlation between video game violence and real violence", the White House said.

The European Union, the world's biggest trade bloc, chimed in.

Hours before the president signed an executive order implementing the new tariffs, trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries signed a sweeping free trade agreement the US had been part of until Trump withdrew previous year.

Zypries said the EU's Malmstrom was trying to solve the dispute through negotiations, adding: "There are still talks going on, things are in flux, so if you want you could say it's still about diplomacy and not war". We wonder if he needed a reminder to help him remember what to say and ask?

A Mexican government official also denied that any concessions were offered to Washington.

The administration clarified this week that Canada, the largest single source of imported steel (about 16 percent), would be exempt, as would Mexico (about 9 percent). "I do think the possibility of NAFTA partners walking away from the table mattered quite a bit", the lobbyist said. But Liddell, the White House director of strategic initiatives, is seen as a front-runner to replace Cohn as director of the National Economic Council, they said.

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In one alleged example of haphazard policy-making, a report this week said the president raised the tariff rates for branding purposes, increasing them from the 24 and 7 per cent recommended by the Department of Commerce - because he wanted nice, round numbers.

Given the importance of trade to agriculture, congressional members from Nebraska and western Iowa - all Republicans - have pushed Trump to reconsider in letters, public statements and, in some cases, White House meetings.

Saturday's meetings in Brussels had been previously planned but took on greater importance because of Trump's announcement of a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports.

Among the leaders to speak with Trump about trade have been French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

In a Friday phone call with Trump, Macri expressed "concerns over the negative effects of these measures", according to a statement released by the Argentinian president's office. Trump voiced his backing for the tariffs by stating that the United States has been ripped off by both friend and foe in a trade thus there must be a punishment placed on these countries.

China's metals industry issued the country's most explicit threat yet in the row, urging the government to retaliate by targeting US coal - a sector that is central to Trump's political base and his election pledge to restore American industries and blue-collar jobs.

The EU is also maintaining a threat of counter-measures that would target USA imports ranging from maize to motorcycles, and may publish its list next week to allow industry and other interested parties to give their input.

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