President Trump proclaims 'tariffs are the greatest' ahead of trade meeting

President Donald Trump

WASHINGTON – Ahead of a big trade meeting with European officials, President Donald Trump on Tuesday hailed tariffs as both a negotiating tactic and as punishment.

"Tariffs are the greatest!" Trump tweeted. "Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that - and everybody’s talking!"

The tweet came ahead of his Wednesday meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The two leaders plan to discuss U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel and Trump's threat to extend duties to European cars coming into the United States.

The European Union has its own tariffs on U.S. products.

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Economists have said that Trump's tariff fights with Europe and China will lead to trade wars that will raise prices for consumers worldwide.

"If you do another $200 billion of tariffs and this national security thing about cars, I think that you're getting pretty close to reversing some of the benefits you've seen in the economy," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told CNN Money.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, a frequent critic of Trump, tweeted that "tariffs are taxes on American consumers" and "protectionism doesn’t work" for the American economy.

"End the trade war and let’s get to work on real solutions to stop unfair trade practices," Kasich said.

Some Republicans in Congress also object to tariffs. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said "better tools" are available to fight unfair trade practices, and "I don’t think tariffs are the right answer."

The United States and China have also engaged in tariff threats and counter-threats. As with Europe, Trump has accused China of unfair trade practices that hurt U.S. sales and undercut American workers.

"Remember, we are the 'piggy bank' that’s being robbed," Trump tweeted. "All will be Great!"