USDA announcement a good first step. More strategy needed.
Washington, DC. The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) expressed support for today’s US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement of aid for US farmers and ranchers. After the Trump administration’s recent imposition of tariffs on China’s hacking, cyber espionage, and forced technology transfer, Beijing responded with punitive tariffs aimed at fairly traded goods in America’s agricultural sector. The USDA plan provides $12 billion for three programs to address China’s retaliation.
“We are pleased that Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is taking this initial action,” said CPA chairman Dan DiMicco. “China has decided that, rather than halt its aggressive and illegal practices, it would rather drag America’s farmers and ranchers into the crossfire. The administration needs to continue finding ways to further support agricultural producers.” After the Trump administration imposed tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods benefiting from commercial espionage, Beijing responded with retaliatory tariffs against US agricultural and other goods. The retaliatory tariffs did not change fundamental global supply and demand factors for agricultural commodities. However market psychology has driven prices down, causing hardship for US producers. As a result, President Trump ordered the US Department of Agriculture to craft an aggressive plan to help farmers and ranchers. The USDA plan includes three programs. First, a “Market Facilitation Program” that will provide incremental aid for producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs. Second, a “Food Purchase and Distribution Program” to purchase surplus commodities, including fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork, and milk, for distribution to food banks and other programs. Third, a Trade Promotion Program to help with opening new markets for US farm exports. “Secretary Perdue’s announcement is a good first step towards a more comprehensive agricultural strategy,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of the CPA. “Farm incomes and the farm share of the consumer dollar have deteriorated for years before these tariffs, proving that the ‘free trade, not aid’ approach of previous administrations failed.” “Countries like Brazil and Canada use tariffs and subsidies to overproduce and export their overcapacity, which drives American farmers and ranchers out of domestic and global markets,” continued Stumo. “Additionally, the US dollar is overvalued by as much as 25 percent, making our agricultural commodities less competitive overseas. Exchange rate management needs to be another arrow in our quiver. We encourage the administration to be even more aggressive in helping rural America.”