Tariffs are the greatest, tweets Trump - hours before meeting Juncker

Tariffs are the greatest, tweets Trump - hours before meeting Juncker

To help reduce some of the pain inflicted by a burgeoning trade war between the USA and its traditional economic allies, the Trump administration on Tuesday announced an aid package worth $12 billion for farmers who've been hurt by the tariffs.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom will signal the EU's willingness to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement on manufactured goods, or a so-called plurilateral sectoral agreement between all major auto exporters which would cut or eliminate tariffs on automobiles globally.

"This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire USA economy", said Sonny Perdue, the secretary of agriculture, in a statement.

White House officials hope it will temporarily quiet some of the unease from farm groups, but the new plan has already been criticized by some lawmakers, including Republicans, who believe the taxpayer-funded bailouts amount to welfare for farmers in a trade war caused by Trump's decision to place tariffs on steel imports.

The US administration has already applied high tariffs to European Union steel and aluminium exports, and is embroiled in a trade war with China.

Scott Irwin, an agricultural economist at the University of IL said: "We have never compensated farmers directly on such a large scale for retaliatory tariffs".

Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) says the world faces "a choice between cooperation and confrontation" in remarks that criticized escalating USA tariffs on goods from China and other major trading partners.

Sonny Perdue, the U.S. agriculture secretary, said: "President Trump has promised since day one that he has the back of every American farmer and rancher".

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.

Trump declared earlier Tuesday that "Tariffs are the greatest!" and threatened to impose additional penalties on USA trading partners as he prepared for negotiations with European officials at the White House.




The plan comes as Trump speaks at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Kansas City in the heart of the nation's farm country.

Mr Trump on Tuesday crowed that it was his tough stance and threats of auto tariffs that brought the European leader to the bargaining table. "They can compete with anybody if we can get free and fair trade". The program can use up to $30 billion in funding from the Treasury Department to "stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices". "We have been ripped off by China for a long time, and I told that to President Xi".

The temporary aid is more of an admission by the president of the "huge impact" the trade war is having on farmers, said Mark Watne, president of the North Dakota Farmers Union, which has more than 45,000 members in the state.

The aid package, set to begin in September, is mostly created to help soybean farmers, dairies and pork producers. He and his wife farm 300 acres of mostly soybean and corn, but they also have wheat and alfalfa. "The programmes we are announcing today help ensure our nation's agriculture continues to feed the world and innovate to meet the demand", Mr Perdue said.

Agriculture officials say the plan will not require congressional approval.

The funds, however, will not be spent until Labor Day in early September, the Department of Agriculture said Tuesday, just months before the midterm elections. Ben Sasse and Sen.

The aid funding may also mean that Trump's trade war will be going on for some time.

The White House argues that the short-term pain from retaliatory tariffs is negligible compared to the benefits the country stands to reap from fair trade deals and lowered trade barriers.

"Tariffs are taxes that punish American consumers and producers", Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul wrote on Twitter.

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