Trade War Help for Farmers: All Options on the Table

A top Department of Agriculture official says all options are on the table when it comes to finding relief from a trade war with China for farmers. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky told reporters earlier this week USDA is "looking at all of our authorities" to find ways to assist farmers, according to Politico. Those options include buying up commodities through the Commodity Credit Corporation. The comments by Censky confirm Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdues comments from last week, eluding to USDA having something in the works to shield farmers from a trade war. However, Perdue has not announced any details to what that may be. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump this week said: "Well make it up to them," referring to the risks farmers face in a trade dispute with China. Trump claimed that "farmers will be better off than they ever were," but offered a vague timeline of when that help may arrive for farmers and ranchers.

China Files WTO Complaint, Pledges to Lower Some Tariffs

China has filed a dispute with the World Trade Organization alleging the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum violate world trade rules. However, the nation also reconfirmed it will open its economy by lowering tariffs on cars, paving the way for negotiations. "Actions speak louder than words" when it comes to China, one U.S. economist told Reuters. But, Chinas President did announce this week the intention to raise the foreign ownership limit in the automobile, shipbuilding and aircraft sectors "as soon as possible", and push previously announced measures to open the financial sector. Plans to open the auto sector to the U.S. by China have been in the works since before the Trump administration. The announcement by China could offer a glimmer of negotiation to end or dampen the trade spat, which includes proposed tariffs on U.S. agricultural products. Trump has been insistent that the two nations will reach a mutually beneficial agreement, while Chinese officials recently said negotiations would be impossible under "current circumstances."


Story source: NAFB News Service

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