Published: Wed, July 25, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Trump plans emergency aid to farmers affected by his tariffs

Trump plans emergency aid to farmers affected by his tariffs

The government's action points to administration concern about damage to USA farmers from Trump's trade tariffs and the potential for losing House and Senate seats in the Midwest and elsewhere. The move was retaliation for tariffs the United States placed on Chinese goods, mostly targeting the aerospace, robotics and machinery industries.

"My thoughts are the thoughts of farmers. It's really just that simple", said Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin. But Farmers for Free Trade, a bipartisan group that works for trade policies that benefit farmers, said "farmers need contracts, not compensation, so they can create stability and plan for the future". Many farmers are accepting that message. Some Republicans are jittery about the potential for political repercussions heading into the November midterm elections. Trump also has been under pressure from lawmakers representing rural parts of the country to back away from imposing tariffs. "Our emphasis continues to be on trade and restoring markets, and we will continue to push for a swift and sure end to the trade war and the tariffs impacting American agriculture".

Farm goods covered would range from major commodities such as soybeans, wheat and milk to legumes and nuts, depending on the program.

USA farmers are expected to grow 14.2 billion bushels of corn this year and 4.3 billion bushels of soybeans, down some from last year but still huge crops.

Corker said farmers want 'trade, not aid'.

European countries have the highest subsidies with Iceland, Norway and Switzerland providing more than 50 per cent of their farm income as government support measures while the United States provided almost eight per cent.

Some Republicans in farm states quickly dismissed the plan, declaring that farmers want markets for their crops, not payoffs for lost sales and lower prices. The plan does not authorize any new money, and it does not require approval from Congress.

"I am glad that the administration finally seems to understand that the Trump-Pence tariffs are hurting the American people", said Sen.

Agricultural Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas says, "They would much prefer trade, rather than aid".

U.S. President Donald Trump is showing no signs of backing away from using tariffs as a negotiating tool, taking to Twitter early Tuesday morning saying "tariffs are the greatest".

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Some farmers expressed concern that few details have been released. Senator James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, called the plan "the wrong direction to go".

Australia consistently ranks as one of the lowest in the OECD, a year ago coming in at 1.95 per cent of GDP just behind New Zealand.

In interviews with the Herald in China last month, Chinese officials said they were undaunted by Trump's threats to levy increasingly harsh tariffs as high as $500 billion on Chinese goods. All three are embroiled in conflicts with the U.S.

China is the biggest buyer of USA soybeans, importing more than $12.4 billion worth of the oil seed in 2017, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Soybeans are down 10.22% this year through Tuesday.

China is trying to undermine support for Trump's policies among farmers. President Barack Obama allocated US$170 million to help farmers struck by drought in 2012.

The Agriculture Department said it would tap an existing program to provide $12 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers hurt by foreign retaliation to Trump's tariffs and other assistance, such as the purchase of excess crops. Fall is the biggest season for American soybean farmers.

"In KC, Trump asks farmers for patience".

This will help producers of soy, sorghum, corn, wheat, pork, dairy, fruit, rice and nuts, all products hit by tariffs imposed in response to U.S. actions.

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