Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

NZ farmers dismayed at United States farm bailout as trade war deepens

AP  Jae C. Hong AP Jae C. Hong
Scott Davis | 26 July, 2018, 13:28

President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to suspend new tariffs while negotiating over trade, pulling the USA and Europe back from the edge of a transatlantic trade war.

Both sides pledged on Wednesday to lower some industrial tariffs and increase Europe's purchases of USA soybeans and liquefied natural gas - both potential weapons for Beijing in its trade war with Washington - while moving to re-examine existing United States tariffs on steel and aluminium and retaliatory ones from Europe. What the Europeans are really after, though, is deescalation before Trump takes the fateful step of imposing 25 percent tariffs on auto imports.

He also said they would "resolve the steel and aluminium tariffs", while Mr Juncker said the sides would hold off on any new tariffs while talks proceed. The U.S. and European Union are now working to resolve their differences over steel and aluminum _ but the tariffs are still in place.

The EU will import more American soybeans and natural gas, adjust regulations to help medical devices be traded more easily, and both sides will decrease industrial tariffs.

"A trade war should be rejected because there will be no victor", Mr. Xi said at the opening of a BRICS summit of emerging economies in Johannesburg.

The moves have been unsettling to lawmakers with districts dependent upon manufacturers and farmers affected by the retaliatory tariffs.

U.S. President Donald Trump is showing no signs of backing away from using tariffs as a negotiating tool, taking to Twitter early Tuesday morning saying "tariffs are the greatest". Farmers in Iowa alone could lose as much as $624 million on soybean shipments to China, Donnelle Eller, an agriculture reporter with the Des Moines Register, told CBSN last month. "Both the US and the European Union drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies!"

The relationship between the United States and Europe had been further frayed by Mr Trump's apparent fondness for the Russian President Vladimir Putin and attacks on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.




Many Wisconsin politicians are echoing that sentiment, saying payback for trade tariffs is not the way to go.

Mr. Trump's latest tweets came a day after his administration's first acknowledgement that the aggressive trade actions are causing domestic pain, with the announcement of $12 billion in aid for farmers who have been the primary targets of Chinese retaliation.

Juncker said the United States had agreed to build more LNG export terminals to increase supplies to Europe. If you want to scare Beijing into thinking twice about stealing IP, you'll get further faster with a joint U.S. -EU effort than by going it alone.

After three hours and a half of negotiations, Juncker accepted bigger exports of soybeans to the EU.

Preliminary details of the agricultural aid program that emerged Tuesday indicate the administration will tap the Commodity Credit Corporation, an entity created during the Great Depression to support farmers, to borrow directly from the Treasury for aid to agriculture.

The EU will also become "a massive buyer" of USA liquid natural gas, he said.

Still, the deal announced Wednesday with the European Union is an encouraging sign that America's trade partners may be able to placate the Trump administration with offers to buy more USA goods, averting a trade war that the International Monetary Fund has warned may undermine the strongest global upswing in years.

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