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Tariffs are bad for the economy but hopefully President Donald Trump can use them as a negotiation tactic in his trade fight to eventually bring tariffs down around the world, economist Art Laffer said Friday on CNBC's "Closing Bell."
"Tariffs are not a good economic solution to anything, honestly," said Laffer, who is expected to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump next month. "Are they a good negotiation policy? That's what we are going to find out. And I believe the president is a great negotiator, and I am very hopeful that it will be very successful in bringing tariffs down across the world."
Laffer is a former economic advisor to Trump and to President Ronald Reagan. He is known for the Laffer Curve, a theory that argues that increasing tax rates beyond a certain point becomes counterproductive for raising tax revenue.
The White House announced earlier Friday that Laffer, co-author of the book "Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy," will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump on June 19. The administration described Laffer in the announcement as "one of the most influential economists in American history."
The world's two largest economies increased tariffs on one another earlier this month, with the U.S. making the first move by increasing duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese products from 10% to 25%. China announced plans to raise tariff rates on $60 billion in U.S. goods. The tactics amplified a trade fight that has rattled financial markets and threatened to drag on the global economy.
Separately, Trump announced late Thursday that he would implement a 5% tariff on goods from Mexico.
Despite the tariffs, Laffer said Trump is "doing a great job" and the U.S. economy will do well this year and in 2020 due to the president's efforts on deregulation and his 2017 tax cuts.
— CNBC's Matthew Belvedere contributed to this report.