Business groups urge United States not to impose more tariffs on Chinese imports

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White House readies plan to extend about $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers caught in Trump's escalating trade war

25 July, 2018

"This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and the White House's "plan" is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches", said Senator Ben Sasse, of Nebraska who frequently criticizes the president, a fellow Republican.

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

"It will rely in part on a Depression-era programme called the Commodity Credit Corporation, a division of the Agriculture Department that was created in 1933 to offer a financial backstop for farmers", it said.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) said the administration's move was "encouraging for the short term". He echoed others who have raised concerns that tariffs could make it more hard for farmers to obtain loans and could hurt agricultural land values.

The Trump administration enacted a 25% tariff on roughly $34 billion worth of Chinese goods earlier this month and has another $16 billion pending ahead of a public hearing.

"Tariffs are taxes that punish American consumers and producers", he wrote. "Tariffs are the greatest!".

Despite Trump's boasts of "winning" his trade wars with multiple countries, many Trump-supporting farmers across the country have been sounding the alarm that they will be badly hurt by retaliatory tariffs on American soybeans. "What they want is access to markets", Hoeven said in an interview.

In a follow up tweet he reaffirmed the administration's tough stance on trade, explaining "either a country negotiates a fair deal - or gets hit with tariffs". 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.

Toomey added: "The administration clobbers farmers with an unnecessary trade war then attempts to assuage them with taxpayer handouts".

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The nonprofit group Farmers for Free Trade said farmers "need contracts, not compensation, so they can create stability and plan for the future".

"While we're grateful the administration is doing something, we're hopeful these tariff issues will be resolved soon because farmers would rather trade than take aid", said Joel Rotz, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau spokesman.

When European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker left for Washington to meet with President Trump, his mission was to try to dissuade the American president from escalating trade tensions between the US and EU.

"Our emphasis continues to be on trade and restoring markets, and we will continue to push for a swift and sure end to the trade war and the tariffs impacting American agriculture".

"These markets have been developed over years and because of trade agreements that we've had and whatnot", Flake said.

In a written submission before Tuesday's hearing, the US Chamber of Commerce expressed its staunch opposition to tariff escalation, saying it would be US businesses and customers who would foot the bill of the "hidden, regressive taxes".

"If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers - the answer is remove the tariffs", Sen.

Juncker will suggest two paths, one of which is a deal among major auto exporting nations including the U.S., Europe, Japan and Canada to reduce tariffs on cars. He has also threatened to slap tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, potentially targeting imports that previous year totaled $335 billion.

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