White House economic adviser Gary Cohn stepping down

President Donald Trump told people that he has settled on Larry Kudlow to replace Gary Cohn as the new director of the White House's National Economic Council according to a source familiar with his conversations

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A number of fund managers are looking to global markets as the prospect of higher interest rates in the US helped spur weak growth in the stock market during February, Reuters reported, mentioning Wells Fargo, Oppenheimer and Federated.

President Trump said last week he would impose import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, a move criticized by a number of prominent Republican lawmakers.

White House officials said the tariffs dispute contributed to Mr. Cohns' decision to leave but was not the sole reason.

The administration's high turnover of key staff is also leading to a lack of confidence in Trump's policies, Reuters noted.

The administration had already said Wednesday evening that Canada and Mexico would be initially exempted in whatever tariffs the president announces, although Trump said that could change depending on the results of negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. He also noted the difficulty of enacting policy with a divided government.

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The New York Times first reported the news.

Trump's announcement last week of his plans to impose the tariffs sent US stock prices tumbling and came after an intense debate within the White House between Cohn and other advocates of free trade, on one side, and protectionist advisers such as Peter Navarro on the other, White House sources said.

"This is Gary Cohn's last meeting of the Cabinet, with the Cabinet, and he's been terrific", Trump said at a Cabinet meeting.

Trump is expected to sign tariffs on steel and aluminum later Thursday. "I am grateful to the President for giving me this opportunity and wish him and the Administration great success in the future", he said earlier this week. The Goldman Sachs veteran was one of the White House's most prominent opponents of the tariffs. "I don't know if I can put him in the same position though", Trump said. Business lobbyists frequently cited Cohn as their strongest ally in the White House.

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