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Trump upset over ag being targeted by ChinaTrump upset over ag being targeted by China

President instructs Ag Secretary Perdue to use his broad authority to implement a plan to protect American farmers and agriculture from trade fallout.

Jacqui Fatka

April 6, 2018

2 Min Read
Trump upset over ag being targeted by China
President Donald Trump speaks to workers at the headquarters of tool manufacturer Snap-On on April 18, 2017, in Kenosha, Wis.Scott Olson/Getty Images

In the ongoing, tit-for-tat trade spat between the U.S. and China, President Donald Trump has asked the U.S. Trade Representative to examine imposing another $100 billion of additional tariffs against China because it chose to harm the U.S. agriculture industry. He also has instructed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to offer any way to protect and support U.S. farmers and agricultural interests.

On April 3, 2018, USTR announced approximately $50 billion in proposed tariffs on imports from China as an initial means to obtain the elimination of policies and practices identified in the investigation.

“Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers,” Trump said in a statement. “In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate under Section 301 and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs."

In response to the additional $100 billion in tariffs, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce, said, “We don't want to fight, but we're not afraid of a trade war. The statement to the U.S. side that we will listen to its words.”

The spokesman added, “If the U.S. side ignores China and the international community and insists on unilateralism and trade protectionism, the Chinese side will definitely fight back and take a new comprehensive response and resolutely defend the interests of the state and people at all costs. The Sino-U.S. economic and trade conflict is a provocation by the United States, which is essentially a challenge to global multilateralism, American protectionism and global free trade.”

Related:China’s trade escalation offers hope for resolution

Meanwhile, Trump instructed Perdue to use his broad authority to implement a plan to protect American farmers and agriculture.

The idea of offering additional support to farmers continues to be mentioned, including USTR Robert Lighthizer’s testimony on Capitol Hill in recent weeks, and Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) has also mentioned the need to offer some kind of assistance to producers.

Although the farm bill might offer the best vehicle, the Credit Commodity Corp. also offers a possibility for providing some assistance to farmers.

“Trade wars are not good for anyone, and we urge President Trump and other negotiators to take a constructive approach in the ongoing negotiations,” National Sorghum Producers chairman and Nebraska farmer Don Bloss said.


About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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