Republicans pan Trump’s $12 billion tariff relief for farmers as corporate welfare

25 July, 2018, 04:59 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • Trump Admininstration Announces Emergency Farmer Aid Plan to Mitigate Tariff Effects AP

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.

President Donald Trump is planning to provide a whopping Dollars 12 billion emergency financial aid to farmers who have been hit by retaliatory tariffs on agricultural products imposed by trading partners like China, India and the European Union, according to media reports.

The president is activating a seldom-used Department of Agriculture emergency program to buy excess crops and commodities.

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.

In a speech on Tuesday, he said farmers would be the "biggest beneficiary" of the disputes after countries make changes.

The government announced a $12 billion plan Tuesday to assist farmers who have been hurt by President Donald Trump's trade disputes with China and other trading partners.

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.

The imposition of punishing tariffs on imported goods has been a favored tactic by Trump, but it has prompted USA trading partners to retaliate, creating risks for the economy.

United States agriculture exports have been a prime target of China and other countries that have retaliated against the series of tariffs Trump has imposed in recent months.

Few outside his inner circle of economic advisers seemed to agree, with House Speaker Paul Ryan voicing rare disapproval of the president's policy.

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Tariffs are taxes on imports.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who's been critical of Trump's moves on trade, said before the announcement that commodity supports aren't a long-term solution and will be costly to taxpayers.

But that provided little solace to rank-and-file Republicans, who said the tariffs are simply taxes and warned the action would open a Pandora's box for other sectors of the economy.

They can also cut off USA producers, including farmers, from foreign marketplaces that have been predictable annual sources of income in the past. Trump has threatened to ratchet that up to more than $500 billion, a move that has left financial markets uneasy.

The White House has already imposed a 25% tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese products and, three weeks ago, threatened an additional round worth $16 billion. Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. "It's as simple as that".

Kevin Cramer, a US representative trying to unseat Democrat Senator Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, praised the move.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (R-NY) said that it's yet another example of the president thinking that the American people aren't entitled to know what deals he's cutting with other countries.

Trump noted he would be meeting today with European officials, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

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.

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