Trump administration planning emergency aid to farmers affected by tariffs

Trump administration planning emergency aid to farmers affected by tariffs

U.S. President Donald Trump is reiterating his threat to impose tariffs on countries that treat the U.S. unfairly when it comes to trade.

What's the background on the tariffs?

Farmers have been a particular target in the current clash over trade policy as other countries seek to retaliate for Trump's duties on Chinese goods as well as on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

As just one example of how farmers are impacted, China used to import $1 billion worth of American-grown sorghum annually, which made up 77 percent of all US sorghum exports.

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. This caused the price of sorghum to drop significantly, and forced ships full of sorghum heading to China to change course.

Trump has been talking for weeks about finding ways to aid farmers as China, in particular, has canceled orders for soybeans and other crops. The U.S. and European allies have been at odds over the president's tariffs on steel imports and are meeting as the trade dispute threatens to spread to automobile production.

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.

Soy prices have fallen particularly hard in the past few months, though Trump has tried to deflect blame and promised to somehow take care of these farmers, many of whom are from politically crucial states like Iowa and Wisconsin. It accounts for a quarter of USA auto imports. It involves direct payments to farmers, the purchase of excess food and trade promotion programs to help create new export markets.

"Tariffs are the greatest!" the president wrote on Twitter. "All will be Great!" he concluded. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) responded to the president's tweet, saying: "Umm...no. Tariffs are taxes". The U.S. and China have threatened to impose 25 percent tariffs next week on $16 billion of each other's goods.

"We're stopping the barriers to other countries".

But the taxes also exact a toll on US businesses and consumers, which pay more for imported products. "Farmers need contracts, not compensation, so they can create stability and plan for the future", said the group's executive director, Brian Kuehl. "This administration's tariffs and bailouts aren't going to make America great again, they're just going to make it 1929 again".

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