Farmers are staring down Trump’s trade war. White House trade adviser defends President’s strategy

National News

Washington (CNN) – (9/29/19) White House trade adviser Peter Navarro defended President Donald Trump‘s commitment to American farmers on Sunday, as some farmers say the US trade war with China directly hurts them.

“This President has the backs of farmers,” Navarro told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” He said “a lot” of the money the US is taking in from tariffs is “going right to the farmers.”

American farmers are showing nervousness about the US-China trade war, including postponing buying tractors and other equipment.

Deere, the agricultural equipment company, reported earnings and sales that missed Wall Street forecasts Friday. Overall revenue fell 3% from a year ago. The results “reflected the high degree of uncertainty that continues to overshadow the agricultural sector,” said Samuel Allen, Deere’s CEO, in a statement.

The Trump administration is expected to begin paying $14.5 billion to farmers hurt by the US-China trade war by the end of August — the second round of aid the administration will pay out as negotiations with Beijing continue past the one-year mark. Farmers, hit hard by China’s retaliatory tariffs put on a range of commodities including soybeans, corn and wheat, received about $10 billion in aid last year.

American farmers feeling the brunt of China tariffs 01:31Gary Wertish, the president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, recently told CNN, “Words and twitters and tweets — that doesn’t pay the farmers’ bills. That doesn’t solve the problem we’re dealing with.”

“This one’s self-inflicted by our President, and we definitely agreed with him at the beginning, but it doesn’t appear that there’s a plan B,” Wertish said.Lindsay Greiner, the president of the Iowa Soybean Association, has said that government subsidies are a “poor remedy for trade.”

“Short-term, stair-stepped subsidies are a poor remedy for trade. They stimulate production but not sales and therefore do little to undo the long-term log jam caused by not selling soybeans to destinations like China, the world’s No. 1 customer,” Greiner said in a statement in May.

Navarro was adamant on “State of the Union” Sunday, telling Tapper that farmers “are behind this President.” And Navarro insisted the tariffs are “not hurting anybody” in the US — “They’re hurting China,” he said.

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