U.S. challenges 5 WTO members including China for retaliatory trade tariffs

George McgeeAug 01, 2018

"The actions taken by the President are wholly legitimate and fully justified as a matter of United States law and trade rules", said the statement quoting U.S. secretary of Commerce, Robert Lighthizer. In a USDA press release, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stated that this aid package was meant to be a short-term solution to "protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally".

"Farmers want trade, not aid", he said.

European officials, particularly French agriculture officials, have said that the European Union would not bend its strict rules on food safety, which has made it hard for American farmers to sell beef overseas. "USDA will not stand by while our hard-working agricultural producers bear the brunt of unfriendly tariffs enacted by foreign nations".

Under this program, the department can borrow up to $30 billion from the Treasury Department.

When asked about Trump's aid package to farmers, Kestel said he understands that the president is trying to help, but "it's not a long-term fix". Sign-up for this program is expected to begin in September. The president's economic plan has always consisted of tax reform, trade relief and regulatory relief.

"The EU needs to open its markets to real free trade", said Bystron, adding that the EU now has over 12,000 different tariffs on different products. China doesn't want a trade war, but is not afraid of and will fight one when necessary.

The downside risk of our current situation is that it could prove to be inflationary by increasing the price of imports, it could end up in a trade war that would affect our financial markets and it could hurt American companies doing business in China. Dieter Kempf, the president of BDI (a German industry association), underlined that the agreements in the joint statement must be followed with concrete action. As a publicly traded company, US Steel is required to announce major changes, such as opening new plants.

In the eyes of Bystron, Trump is more a businessman than a politician and his administration's trade policy is consistent with America's traditional cowboy style. Lawmakers in Washington on Thursday passed legislation to slow Chinese investment in US companies. "We urge the administration to recognize this self-inflicted damage and to end the trade war immediately as well as to work within the rules-based trading system in partnership with like-minded countries to address serious problems in the global economy".

The shrewdly targeted retaliation of European and other US trade partners has also proved inconvenient to the president.

Our current situation probably began on March 8, 2018 when the US announced a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

Shortly afterward, retaliations began with China imposing tariffs on $3 billion worth of imported USA pork, fruit, steel pipes and recycled aluminum.

The US might sell more natural gas to China and buy fewer washing machines; but it will sell less natural gas to other countries and buy washing machines or something else from Thailand or another country that has avoided the irascible Trump's wrath.

Earlier this year, the United States placed tariffs on $3 billion of European Union steel and aluminum.

Whatever deal the US and European Union work out will need to be carefully examined.

Ag committees' leadership discuss farm billSens.

The University of Missouri's Commercial Agriculture Program did an analysis this month showing that for every 10 cent drop in the price of soybeans, it will cost the state's farmers about $24.7 million in cash receipts.

President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, who just wrapped up the 20th China-EU Summit in Beijing, said in June that the rules-based global system is under threat, and to everyone's surprise, the threat comes from no one but the USA who built up this system. "We must keep working to provide American farmers and families with the certainty and predictability they need and deserve".

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