Trump, European Union leaders pull back from trade war

Trump offers help to farmers hit by escalating China trade war
Trump pumps up the volume ahead of Juncker visit
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26 July, 2018

They also said they would cooperate to reform the rules of the World Trade Organization, which the Trump administration frequently criticizes for favoring USA trading partners.

The Trump administration is coming to the aid of farmers hurt by its own hard-line trade policies, announcing Tuesday it will make an estimated $12 billion in government assistance available, including direct payments to growers.

Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said Trump's trade war "is cutting the legs out from under farmers and White House's "plan" is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches". We were being nice - until now!

"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.

Trump will take his competitive approach on trade into a meeting Wednesday with European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who will come armed with proposals meant to appease the mad man behind the wheel. The U.S. and European allies have been at odds over Trump's tariffs on steel imports and are meeting as the trade dispute threatens to spread to automobile production. Trump had threatened to tax imported cars, trucks and auto parts, potentially targeting imports that a year ago totalled $335 billion.

On Tuesday, Trump suggested in a tweet that "both the US and the European Union drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies!"

Many farmers remain critical of President Donald Trump's tariffs and the damage done to commodity prices and markets but were appreciative Tuesday that he offered to provide some cash to help offset their losses. But, they are expecting us to offset the cost of the (50 percent) tariff. On top of that, the Trump Administration is pushing ahead with tariffs on another $16 billion of Chinese goods and has started the process for tariffs on another $200 billion.

"We arrived there, and then we became eye candy", Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts, R-Ks., said of the senators joining the impromptu event.

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.

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The EU announced earlier that it would proportionally respond to American trade tariffs, as well as initiate proceedings as part of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The USDA said it planned to roll out some of those details around Labor Day and the program would begin to make payouts after the fall harvest.

"This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire United States economy", Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

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.

"We're starting the negotiation right now, but we know very much where it's going", Trump said after talks with European counterparts. John Kennedy, R-La. "You've got to treat everybody the same".

The department "will not stand by while our hard-working agricultural producers bear the brunt of unfriendly tariffs enacted by foreign nations", he said.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson saying in part, "This is becoming more and more like a Soviet-type of economy: commissars deciding who's going to be granted waivers, commissars in the administration figuring out how they're going to sprinkle around benefits".

On a more macro level, Kenny feels like the bailout is just bad economic policy.

"This friction that we're having, as long as it results in lowering barriers. that's great, that is hopefully where we can end up with this".


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