Trump suggests no tariffs between US, Europe

Anna Jefferson
July 25, 2018

Donald Trump has called on the European Union to drop all "tariffs, barriers and subsidies", hours after his administration promised billions of dollars in aid to U.S. farmers to mitigate the impact of a trade war.

Trump's willingness to buck the advice of his advisors is evidence of an "increasingly defiant...trade strategy", the Post reports. We were being nice - until now!

Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) says the world faces "a choice between cooperation and confrontation" in remarks that criticized escalating US tariffs on goods from China and other major trading partners. He warned that those who pursue "economic hegemony" will "only end up hurting themselves".

Trump is meeting Wednesday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (zhahn-KLOHD' YUN'-kur).

Trump has placed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, saying they pose a threat to USA national security, an argument that allies such as the European Union and Canada reject.

US 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. The other more feasible offer from the Europeans is a limited free trade agreement between the US and EU on industrial goods including cars, according to the official.

Acknowledging Trump's fixation on the German vehicle surplus, Juncker, according to a senior European official, will offer two solutions: eliminate tariffs on cars for all trading partners, or create a limited free trade agreement between the USA and EU on industrial goods.

That proposal doesn't yet have enough GOP support to pass the Senate, and it appears Trump's bailouts to farm country are meant to tamp down GOP criticism of Trump's trade policies. "So the way we keep America great is to make at least reasonable, I'm not saying at least reasonable, at least fair trade deals not stupid trade deals like we've put up with for 25 years, so we're changing it and we're changing rapidly".

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On July 6, Beijing hit back at United States tariffs on US$34 billion in Chinese products with similar duties of its own on U.S. goods, including soybeans, beef, pork, sorghum and fruit.

Trump has threatened to place penalty taxes on up to $500 billion in products imported from China, a move that would dramatically ratchet up the stakes in the trade dispute involving the globe's biggest economies.

Price increases would vary by product, ranging anywhere from a few cents on a can of beer or soup to around $6,000 on a family vehicle, if the administration moves forward with auto-specific tariffs it has threatened.

"The programmes we are announcing today are a firm statement that other nations can not bully our agricultural producers to force the United States to cave in", Perdue said.

It's not just those inside his own administration who oppose the idea either. Soybean farmers in IL tell me that since the start of the president's trade war, they've seen their crop value drop by 20 per cent.

Trade damage from such retaliation has impacted a host of United States commodities, including field crops like soybeans and sorghum, livestock products like milk and pork, and many fruits, nuts and other specialty crops, it said. Are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off? "They are being vicious in what will be their failed attempt. This bailout compounds bad policy with more bad policy".

"There is a tendency for a little bit of Trump piling on", he said. "Negotiations are going really well, be cool".

The administration's action appeared to divide Republicans, with some praising the move and others troubled by what they view as the kind of widespread government-assistance programme their party has traditionally opposed.

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"U.S. pork, which began the year in expansion mode to capitalize on unprecedented global demand, now faces punitive tariffs on 40% of its exports", said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio.

The GOP leader declined to say whether trade was discussed.

The officials said payments couldn't be calculated until after harvests come in.

Meanwhile, farmers inspecting growing crops in North Dakota said they preferred not relying on the aid, but were optimistic that Trump would find a long-term solution.

Soybeans are likely to be the largest sector affected by the programs.

China imported about US$24.1 billion in agricultural products from the U.S. previous year, accounting for about a fifth of total farm imports in 2017, according to Chinese customs agriculture ministry data.

The Agriculture Department was expected to announce the proposal that would include direct assistance and other temporary relief for farmers, according to two people briefed on the plan, who were not authorized to speak on the record. "I think we are in for a long battle with the Chinese government, so this program will go a long way in helping our farmers who are on the front line". "I think it will only put out the fire a little bit".

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