$12B in farm aid planned to offset trade tariffs tafif

Published 1:20 am Wednesday, July 25, 2018

President Donald Trump yesterday announced a $12 billion aid package for farmers hit hard by trade tariffs imposed in recent months.

Specific details for how the programs will work, implementation, and sign-up periods have not been announced, and are expected on September 4, 2018.

According to the U.S. Soybean Association, since the U.S. and China began imposing additional tariffs in late May, U.S. soy prices have dropped more than $2 per bushel. Yesterday, the American Soybean Association continued to call for a longer-term strategy to alleviate mounting surpluses and low prices, and advocated for removing the harmful tariffs.

In 2017, China imported 31 percent of U.S. soybean production, according to the association.

A report in AgriPulse last week said since the start of June, soybean prices dropped by more than $1.50, corn by $0.50, and wheat by $0.30. The report estimated American corn, soybean and wheat farmers have already lost a collective $13 billion as a result of the current trade war – a billion more than the aid planned from USDA.

But Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan applauded the Trump decision. The plan is expected to include direct payments to farmers to mitigate lower prices resulting from China’s tariffs, direct commodity purchased by the USDA, and funding for a temporary program.

“These three programs will allow the administration to continue to work on long-term trade deals,” said McMillan. “The end goal is to have an even playing field for our country’s producers.”

Gov. Kay Ivey has lobbied U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Vice President Mike Pence to advise President Donald Trump not to impose tariffs on automobiles and automotive parts, according to statements from her office. A 10 percent decrease in exports of vehicles made in Alabama could result in the loss of 4,000 jobs, she said.

The governor said she “strongly” opposed import tariffs and any retaliatory tariffs.

Alabama’s Sen. Doug Jones disagreed with the president via Twitter yesterday.

“Tariffs are the greatest!” Trump declared on Twitter on Tuesday morning. “Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that — and everybody’s talking! Remember, we are the ‘piggy bank’ that’s being robbed. All will be Great!”

Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama tweeted back, “Many of your tariffs are not the greatest—they’re the worst. Your auto tariff/tax threatens 57k AL jobs & $11B in exports. Retaliatory tariffs/taxes threaten $170M in AL soybean exports 2 China annually. Your tariffs/taxes are great for 1 thing: killing US jobs.”