Gary Cohn quits over tariff hikes

US president Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn has resigned after losing his battle with the president over tariffs.

Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president and free trade advocate, decided to quit after Mr Trump announced tariff hikes for steel and aluminium. 

“It has been an honour to serve my country and enact pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people, in particular the passage of historic tax reform,” Cohn said in his prepared statement.

“I am grateful to the President for giving me this opportunity and wish him and the Administration great success in the future,” 

At a meeting with steel and aluminium executives last week, Cohn had warned the president that the tariff hikes would lead to price increases.

There had already been tensions with Trump over other matters. Cohn, who is Jewish, had considered resigning after Trump refused to condemn neo-Nazis and far-right extremists who had led a violent rally in Virginia in August. Cohn had opposed Trump’s decision early last year to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

A key architect of the 2017 tax changes, Cohn was also a bulwark against the protectionist forces in the White House.

Acknowledging Cohn’s resignation in a statement, Mr Trump said:  “Gary has been my chief economic advisor and did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again.

“He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.”

An award winning author and journalist, commentator, lecturer, and speaker, Leon is a freelance business journalist who covers a range of areas including politics, strategy, globalization, leadership and all the big trends ahead. His main skill is summing up all the news that’s around. For the last 30 years, his main focus has been on management issues. He also produces two podcasts for RMIT University, Talking Business and Talking Technology. Leon has worked for Fairfax, News Limited, AAP and the Herald and Weekly Times.

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