Trump’s $12B agriculture relief package is ‘farm welfare’: Kennedy

Trump’s $12B agriculture relief package is ‘farm welfare’: Kennedy

Earlier this month, the president imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, with similar penalties on an additional $16 billion worth of products expected to go into effect shortly and he's threatened levies on an additional $200 billion of Chinese products in the next month. And when it comes to security, he says the Europeans are refusing to pay their share in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and instead live off the massive United States defense budget.

Politico, citing two sources familiar with the plan, also reported the administration will pay for billions in trade-related aid through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's broad authority and two commodity support programs in a farm bill under consideration in Congress.

The president has repeatedly called the European Union - which includes numerous U.S.'s oldest and most committed allies - an unfair trading partner and even labeled it a "foe".

Reaction from trade partners to Trump's tariff policies have pushed soybean prices about 18 percent lower and corn and pork prices down 15 percent from the time Trump began discussing tariffs this spring.

Farmers for Free Trade, an agricultural-industry advocacy group, also criticized the administration's proposal. "I told him he better keep that job". "We don't want aid, we want trade!"

"This is an occasion to de-dramatise any potential tensions around trade and to engage in an open, constructive dialogue", said Juncker's spokesman, Margaritis Schinas.

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

Trump also says the European Union has also agreed to buy "a lot of soybeans" and increase its imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S.

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Brussels has already retaliated against the steel and aluminum tariffs, imposing punitive duties on more than $3 billion of United States goods.

President Trump "has promised that he had the back of every American farmer and rancher", Perdue said. "I've got some real concerns".

Since the tariff was enacted, the price for US soybeans has dropped roughly 20 percent, said Chad Hart, an economist at Iowa State University.

Hopefully China will flinch in this unsafe game of trade chicken, and if not they'll probably slap a tariff on that as well. If prices do not rebound, Hart estimates Iowa soybean farmers will lose $624 million this year.

Not everyone in Trump's own party is happy with the move.

Thomas Simons, money market economist at Jefferies & Co, said: "Trade war type headlines have been the biggest driver of market sentiment - both for Treasuries and stocks - for quite a while now".

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan sounded a more supportive note, however, saying that while he would prefer the administration use "better tools" to address unfair trade practices, the confrontation could also produce beneficial results. "These tariffs are a massive tax increase on American consumers and businesses, and instead of offering welfare to farmers to solve a problem they themselves created, the administration should reverse course and end this incoherent policy".

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