Trump to Give Farmers Aid, but Farmers Aren't Thrilled

Oscar PerryJul 25, 2018

The Trump administration on Tuesday said it would provide up to US$12 billion in aid for USA farmers to shield them from the repercussions felt by trade spats between the United States and China, the European Union and others. Several senators said the Trump administration's tariffs targeting China, Canada, and Europe are harming farmers, and they want to see trade agreements like NAFTA finalized.

The tweet came on the same day that Trump issued this one, amid news that his administration was starting a $12 billion plan to help US farmers amid trade disputes.

Canada, Mexico and the European Union also struck back at Trump's leveling of USA steel and aluminum tariffs by hitting U.S. exports of agriculture products and other heavily exported United States goods.

The administration is keenly aware of the backlash in some Republican circles over the tariffs on steel, aluminum and $34 billion worth in Chinese imports.

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".

President Donald Trump says he'll propose to European officials on Wednesday that both sides drop all tariffs, barriers and subsidies.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has officially announced the US$12 billion support measures, saying they are in line with the estimated US$11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods.

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President Donald Trump gestures to music as he arrives to speak to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, in Kansas City, Mo. "They should do this by working with Congress to ensure farm bill programs provide enough assistance to farmers when markets collapse".

Stephen Kirchner, from the University of Sydney's United States Studies Centre said that the $14 billion soybean industry is one of the hardest hit USA agricultural exports, after China slapped a 25 per cent tariff on all oilseeds.

The president reiterated his "America First" agenda, saying the days of the US workers being taken advantage of are over.

"This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and the White House's "plan" is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches", said Senator Ben Sasse, of Nebraska who frequently criticizes the president, a fellow Republican.

The emergency bailout aimed to ease the financial and political pain caused by Trump's escalating trade and tariff war in key electoral states, sources told CNBC. Canada, China and Mexico are the three biggest buyers of USA farm goods, accounting for 43 percent of purchases in 2017. "We want more welfare", said Sasse. "If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers - the answer is remove the tariffs". If the trade war drags on, then so, too, will the administration's need to deploy some old-school democratic socialism (though perhaps with an appropriately Republican upward redistribution twist depending on how much aid goes to big agribusiness entities).

Speaking on behalf of a plastics industry trade association, Richard Braillie urged the administration not to push ahead with tariffs that targeted fluoropolymers, of which Teflon is an example, saying the new tariffs would cause "severe and irreparable damage to the United States fluoropolymer industry".

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