European Union agrees to buy more USA soy, import more liquified gas

Thursday, 26 Jul, 2018

In the first acknowledgment by President Donald Trump's administration that his aggressive trade actions are hurting Americans, the government on Tuesday announced $12 billion in aid for farmers who have been the primary targets of retaliation. "They are being vicious in what will be their failed attempt".

President Trump welcomed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to the White House on Wednesday for what are likely to be tense discussions over trade and tariffs, with Trump saying the U.S.is seeking a "level playing field" on trade with the European Union.

The two leaders diffused what had threatened to become a trade war between the two blocs, fuelled by tariffs set by Mr Trump on European steel and aluminium exports, and threats to expand the tariffs to cars.

The European Union has warned that it will retaliate with tariffs on products worth $20 billion if Trump puts duties on cars and auto parts from Europe.

Watne prefers better crop subsidies and other revenue-loss protections in the massive federal farm bill that's being hammered out in a House-Senate conference committee to guard against retaliatory tariffs on US agriculture exports.

In Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News said China's retaliatory tariffs on USA exports, and the Trump administration's new tariffs on Chinese seafood, would cost American consumers and Alaska fisheries hundreds of millions of dollars.

Chinese diplomats and many diplomatic observers in the US also expressed frustration about the suspension of top-level communications, which have played an important role to steady US-China relations.

The move is quite clearly created to prop up a key sector of Trump's support base, as the fallout from his trade war starts to settle.

The moves have been unsettling to lawmakers with districts dependent upon manufacturers and farmers affected by the retaliatory tariffs.

Casey Guernsey, a former Missouri state legislator and a spokesman for Americans for Farmers and Families, urged Mr. Trump to "listen to America's rural families and take immediate steps to resolve these trade disputes and find a middle ground that does not punish the agricultural sector".

(See Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sporting one here.) The message is a calculated one as the White House seeks to ease farmers' concerns that a United States trade war will hit them hard.

The Trump administration announced it will provide $12 billion in emergency relief to ease the pain of American farmers slammed by Presi
European Union agrees to buy more USA soy, import more liquified gas

On Wednesday morning, President Trump tweeted that China is "vicious" on trade and said it's targeting USA farmers specifically because "they know I love & respect" them.

At the annual summit of the BRICS emerging economies, held this year in Johannesburg, Xi said those who pursue "economic hegemony" will "only end up hurting themselves".

He added: "Pretend someone smashed your vehicle, and then someone said, 'Don't worry, I will give you a ride to the next place you have to go.' Well, thank you, I appreciate the ride, but what am I going to do the next 10 rides I need after that?" "You've got to treat everybody the same".

And Americans for Prosperity, a conservative pro-growth group affiliated with the Koch network, said farmers want good trade policy, not a bailout.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a Trump critic, likened it to "golden crutches" to make up for a trade war that will cost farmers far more. "This bailout compounds bad policy with more bad policy". Trump wrote on Twitter. "The end result will be worth it!"

The program is expected to start taking effect around Labor Day.

The second is the Food Purchase and Distribution Program, which will buy surplus fruit, nuts, beef, pork and milk to distribute to US food banks and nutrition programs.

It will rely on the Department of Agriculture's authority to stabilize the farm economy by buying excess supply. They said they believed that there are few signs talks among senior officials could be resumed soon.

And the general reaction from farmers, many of whom would benefit from the payments, is that it's a short-term fix that won't work in the long run. "ASA continues to call for a longer-term strategy to alleviate mounting soybean surpluses and continued low prices, including a plan to remove the harmful tariffs".

That figure apparently refers to the U.S. trade deficit in goods alone last year, which hit $810 billion last year, while the total deficit including services was $566 billion.