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Cohn's departure spells trouble for trade

Asian partners brace for fallout after exit of Trump's top economic adviser

| North America
Outgoing economic adviser Gary Cohn with U.S. President Donald Trump at a cabinet meeting at the White House on March 8   © Reuters

People are policy, whether in Washington or Asia. The resignation of the chief White House economic adviser, Gary Cohn, affirms that principle.

The role of the former Goldman Sachs president as a source of confidence for international partners and as a significant impediment to U.S. President Donald Trump's overtly protectionist agenda has been underrated. His departure announced this week amid sharp disagreements over Trump's decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports revives fears that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro will successfully press their managed trade activism. Such concerns are well founded.

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