Half a dozen farm-state senators urged Trump trade officials on Thursday to speedily resolve the Sino-U.S. trade war that is compounding hard times on the farm. Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts brushed aside assurances of a rosy future when trade deals are completed. “Some farmers aren’t going to make it,” he said.
Without providing details, President Trump said on social media over the weekend that Mexico, the largest U.S. food and ag trade partner, would "immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural product from our great patriot farmers." Purchases were not mentioned in a joint declaration by the North American neighbors to avert temporarily Trump's threat to impose tariffs on all imports from Mexico unless it acted to restrict crossings at the southern U.S. border.
U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer sent a letter to congressional leaders on Thursday to trigger the process of approving the new NAFTA. The draft of a so-called statement of administrative action allows the Trump administration to submit the trade deal to Congress within 30 days.
Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are scheduled to confer today in Ottawa on what could be a summertime sprint in both countries to ratify the USMCA trade agreement.
When Congress passed the 2018 farm policy law, analysts estimated farm subsidies would cost an average $6.1 billion a year. The Trump tariff payments, ordered by the White House to mitigate the impact of trade war, could triple the total for expenditures to farmers this year.
President Trump announced a $16-billion aid package on Thursday to buffer the impact of the trade war on farmers and ranchers this year. Speaking separately to reporters, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said billions of dollars of additional aid may flow in the future.
Due to the trade war, more than a third of net farm income for Kansas farmers comes from Trump tariff payments, but that won't make up for lost export sales, said Republican Sen. Jerry Moran on Monday. The second-term Republican was part of a Farm Belt chorus that, after applauding the end of a trade dispute with Canada and Mexico, called for trade deals with China, Japan and the European Union.
The three largest countries in North America announced an end to the 11-month battle of tariff and retaliatory tariff that pinched U.S. farm exports to Canada and Mexico, the two largest customers in the world in the for the goods. The agreement, which took effect over the weekend, improved the prospects for ratification of the new NAFTA and altered the dynamics of the Sino-U.S. trade war.
In a sign that their patience is waning, soybean leaders called for talks, not tariffs, in the Sino-U.S. trade war. “With depressed prices and unsold stocks expected to double by the 2019 harvest, soybean farmers are not willing to be collateral damage in an endless tariff war,” …
Farm income weakened in much of the Midwest and Plains during the opening months of this year, said reports from regional Federal Reserve banks on Thursday, with ag bankers telling the St. Louis Fed that an adverse trade outcome is clearly the most significant threat to agriculture in 2019. On Friday, the Trump administration increased the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.