Trump’s financial aid offer to farmers criticized as tax-funded ‘welfare’


The Trump administration is offering $12 billion in emergency aid to American farmers who have been hurt by the president's escalating trade war with China and other countries.

Ahead of his meeting on Wednesday with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Trump tweeted that both the USA and the EU should "drop all tariffs, barriers and subsidies". According to the Wall Street Journal, South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican, asked: "At what point do we start seeing things move out of the chaotic state they are in now and to where we actually see new trade agreements?"

In addition to the direct impact of tariffs on American farm products, farmers have also been hurt by US tariffs on foreign steel imports. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade.

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 USA farmers amid trade disputes.

The third prong of the plan is to help farm groups develop new export markets.

"President Trump personally promised me that agriculture would be held harmless as he worked on trade, and today's announcement of $12 billion in USDA assistance for disrupted markets confirms his intention to keep his promise to me", said King.

"This is a short-term solution that will give President Trump and his administration time to work on long-term trade deals", Perdue said.

Trump declared earlier today that "Tariffs are the greatest!" and threatened to impose additional penalties on US trading partners as he prepared for negotiations with European officials at the White House.

President Donald Trump's trade wars could become a major political drag for Republicans, with job losses and price increases piling up just as voters head to the polls in November.

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The US President, who has accused the European Union of unfair trade practices, has shown little interest in backing down over his trade policies and appeared to make yet another jibe at the meeting with Mr Juncker and the EU's intentions for it.

He said "prices for farm products are plunging from already very low levels", and called for a support program to mitigate the damage "for years to come".

Additionally, American goods shipped overseas are being slowed from reaching market by unusually strict or cumbersome entry procedures, which can affect the quality and marketability of perishable crops, it said.

Especially hard hit - producers in the American heartland who find their pork, soybeans and other products too expensive to be competitive.

Under the three USDA aid programs, farmers will either receive direct payments or sell their excess production to the government to be used for food banks and other food aid, Perdue said.

It's unclear how the need for such an aid package squares with Trump's boast on Tuesday that "tariffs are the greatest" or his insistence in March that "trade wards are good and easy to win". Because it's an existing program, congressional approval isn't necessary.

In a speech on July 24, Trump told supporters that his predecessors are to blame for the existing deals, which he called a "disaster".

Liu said the subsidies were probably a preventive measure by Trump to ease the anxiety of his constituencies because he was anxious those voters might reconsider their support if the Chinese duties took hold. China said it would retaliate, leaving even more US farm products at risk.

Some of fruits to be hardest hit by the trade policies are cherries - which are now facing a 50% tariff going into China - and apples, which have been hit by higher tariffs in China and Mexico, with India set to also implement additional duties next month in response to USA duties on steel and aluminium imports. Trump wrote on Twitter.