Trump says China being 'vicious' by hitting U.S. farmers with tariffs

A grain salesman shows locally grown soybeans in Ohio

A crisis of falling prices caused by retaliatory tariffs on American agricultural products prompted the Trump Administration Tuesday to make a $12 billion aid package available for farmers hardest hit by the brewing trade war.

A "trade promotion program" will work to find new markets for US agricultural products. He warned that those who pursue "economic hegemony" will "only end up hurting themselves".

Trump is also set to meet Wednesday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods from China.

"Both the US and the European Union drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies!" he wrote.

"We are confronting unfair trade deals and we are doing it like nobody has ever done, because our workers have been cheated and our companies have been cheated", Trump told a veterans group in Kansas. "Hope they do it, we are ready - but they won't!" China, a huge market for USA agricultural exports, has applied tariffs on $34 billion worth of US goods, including soybeans and pork.

Chinese diplomats and many diplomatic observers in the US also expressed frustration about the suspension of top-level communications, which have played an important role to steady US-China relations.

Trump also erroneously claimed the U.S. lost $817 billion on trade a year ago, a much higher number than the $568.4 billion reported by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. 'If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers - the answer is remove the tariffs'.

The bulk of the criticism of Trump's approach to trade and tariffs centers on the fact that tariffs are a double edged sword which hurts both the foreign country and Americans.

The government's action points to administration concern about damage to USA farmers from Trump's trade tariffs and the potential for losing House and Senate seats in the Midwest and elsewhere.

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It's not just those inside his own administration who oppose the idea either.

On Wednesday morning, President Trump tweeted that China is "vicious" on trade and said it's targeting USA farmers specifically because "they know I love & respect" them.

Mr Juncker said he and the president had agreed to reassess national security barriers in "due time".

He added: "Pretend someone smashed your vehicle, and then someone said, 'Don't worry, I will give you a ride to the next place you have to go.' Well, thank you, I appreciate the ride, but what am I going to do the next 10 rides I need after that?" "You've got to treat everybody the same". The administration clobbers farmers with an unnecessary trade war then attempts to assuage them with taxpayer handouts. "This bailout compounds bad policy with more bad policy". "The end result will be worth it!"

Among those who'd Trump likely consider weak is Sen. He wrote: "Negotiations are going really well, be cool".

Rules for the programs have not been fully developed, and an exact date for rollout has not been determined, though Ibach said officials are targeting Labor Day.

The president is activating a seldom-used Department of Agriculture emergency program to buy excess crops and commodities.

And the general reaction from farmers, many of whom would benefit from the payments, is that it's a short-term fix that won't work in the long run.

He said "prices for farm products are plunging from already very low levels", and called for a support program to mitigate the damage "for years to come".

Holtz-Eakin, a Republican, is one of several conservative economists who have been sharply critical of Trump's trade approach, and he said Tuesday that the programs the Agriculture Department will use to help farmers were not designed for this goal.

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