Trump tariffs on US allies a negotiating tactic for free trade: Larry Kudlow

President Trump’s imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union infuriated Congressional Republicans and the key U.S. allies, but according to his chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, it’s merely a negotiating tactic to secure free trade conditions.

“When you have these complicated trade negotiations, part of it -- and part of the president's quiver -- is going to be tariffs, whether we like it or not,” he said during an interview with FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Friday. “But he has to use them in order to achieve the goal of leveling the playing field and bringing down these barriers.”

The White House announced on Thursday that for the European trading bloc, Canada and Mexico he would end a two-month exemption from the 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs announced in March. The tariffs went into effect on Friday, sparking international concerns of a potential trade war.

But the director of the National Economic Council -- who declined to say whether tariffs would be finalized or not -- said the president is hoping to achieve “fairness and reciprocity.”

“That is the best way not only for an even playing field, but to create economic growth,” Kudlow, a self-avowed free trade advocate, said. “We’re just asking that these countries play ball with us.”

In a tweet, the president lambasted Canada for treating the U.S. agricultural sector “very poorly for a very long period of time.”

“Highly restrictive on Trade!” Trump wrote. “They must open their markets and take down their trade barriers! They report a really high surplus on trade with us. Do Timber & Lumber in U.S.?”