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Trump says China being 'vicious' by hitting USA farmers with tariffs

25 July, 2018, 22:28 | Author: Sara Gill
  • Trump administration announces $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers

The Trump administration today announced a massive $12 billion in financial assistance to American farmers hit by retaliatory tariffs imposed by trading partners like China, India and the EU.

On Tuesday night, Mr. Trump suggested he was willing to make concessions if Europe would. "Hope they do it, we are ready - but they won't!"

"The farmers will be the biggest beneficiary; watch, we are opening up markets, you watch what is going to happen, just be a little patient", Trump said during a speech Tuesday in Kansas City, Missouri.

Trump will meet with the president of the European Union Commission on Wednesday where the two leaders will discuss the issue of trade. China, a huge market for US agricultural exports, has applied tariffs on $34 billion worth of USA goods, including soybeans and pork.

The USDA is utilizing the Commodity Credit Corporation, created in 1933, to do three things: Make direct payments to "producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs"; "purchase unexpected surplus of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs"; and "assist in developing new export markets for our farm products". They say the industry does not want handouts, but trade deals that will allow exports to grow.

"In this way, we want to avoid a further escalation of the trade conflict, and to avoid a trade war", he told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk.

After Beijing retaliated in kind, Washington announced levies on an additional $200 billion worth of products and threatened more, targeting potentially all of China's exports to America - including flags.

President Donald Trump said that the US and the European Union should drop all tariffs, barriers and subsidies, just hours before the bloc's trade chiefs present him with proposals on Wednesday that go a long way toward that outcome in a make or break meeting at the White House.

Officials say the plan does not require congressional approval.

The planned mix of direct payments to farmers, commodity purchases for food-aid programs, and stepped up promotion of new export markets buoyed markets looking for new sources of demand for USA products.

The response to the announcement was mixed, with many legislators criticizing the plan, calling it "welfare for farmers", and farm groups pleading for a more lasting solution.

Trump may think trade wars are winnable, but perhaps he should tell that to farmers who can't sell their harvest because retaliatory tariffs have made them too expensive.

Especially hard hit - producers in the American heartland who find their pork, soybeans and other products too expensive to be competitive.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he understood Trump's plan and called his goal a "good one" but ultimately said House Republicans do not agree with the practice.

That puts farmer assistance below the amounts that would trigger complaints before the World Trade Organization, the USDA said.

Liu said the subsidies were probably a preventive measure by Trump to ease the anxiety of his constituencies because he was anxious those voters might reconsider their support if the Chinese duties took hold. Trump also has been under pressure from farm state lawmakers to back away from imposing tariffs.

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted, "Tariffs are the greatest!".

The aid marks the first major acknowledgement from the Trump administration of adverse consequences of the hardline trade polices Trump has espoused for decades and promised on the presidential campaign stump.

It's unclear how the need for such an aid package squares with Trump's boast on Tuesday that "tariffs are the greatest" or his insistence in March that "trade wards are good and easy to win".


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