WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump defended his trade policy Tuesday morning, declaring that “tariffs are the greatest” because they allow him to fight back against nations that engage in trade practices unfair to the U.S.
“Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Its as simple as that — and everybodys talking! Remember, we are the “piggy bank” thats being robbed. All will be Great!”
Trumps tweet comes as he is scheduled to meet this week with Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, on trade issues.
Trump has paid special attention to international trade in recent months as part of his effort to rebalance trade relationships around the globe with terms that are more favorable for the U.S.
Controversially, much of Trumps efforts thus far have focused on allies, with the president imposing or threatening to impose import taxes on longtime allies and partners, including Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the European Union. Tariff talk directed at allies has apparently strained Trumps relationships with some world leaders, leading to tense international meetings this summer at the G-7 summit in Canada and the NATO summit in Brussels.
But perhaps no nation has drawn more heat from Trump in terms of trade than China, the nation with which the president has appeared eager to launch a trade war with. Already, Trump has imposed billions of dollars in tariffs on China, which he has accused of unfair trade practices including intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, and last week the president said he is prepared to impose tariffs on all of the roughly $500 billion worth of imports China sends to the U.S. annually.
Trumps tariffs have not been without downside for the U.S., with reciprocal tariffs already hurting the market for American agricultural goods and the threat of a full-on trade war looming. The president, seemingly eager to offer reassurances to his broad base of support within the agricultural community, has insisted that farmers will ultimately be better off as a result of his trade policies.