Jul 26, 2018

Trump Says He Has Opened Europe Markets for US Farmers 

U.S. President Donald Trump, a day after reaching a truce in the escalating trade dispute with Europe, characterized his talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as a big economic victory.  “We just opened up Europe for you farmers,” Trump said at a roundtable event in Iowa. “You have just gotten yourself one big market.” Iowa is among the midwestern farming states hit by retaliatory tariffs on soybeans and other products, imposed by China in response to tariffs imposed on Chinese goods by the U.S. president.  Later in the day, Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks on trade at a steel-making facility in Granite City, Illinois.  Besides a vague commitment for European purchases of “a lot of soybeans” — as Trump characterized it  Trump and Juncker on Wednesday committed to holding off on additional tariffs while trans-Atlantic negotiations are held. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, speaking to reporters during the Air Force One flight to Iowa, credited Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs for the previous day’s breakthrough at the White House.  “To get there we had to take a route of trying to make it more painful for the other parties to continue bad practices than to drop them,” according to Ross. “This is a real vindication of the president’s trade policy.” While no auto tariffs will be imposed on the EU while talks continue, Ross said “we’ve been directed by the president to continue the investigation, get our material together but not actually implement anything pending the outcome of the negotiation.”  He said they would submit their report on auto tariffs some time in August. Imposing them “may not be necessary.” In the meantime, he said, “steel and aluminum tariffs stay in place.” The comments by Trump and Ross indicate the administration could be willing to negotiate a pact akin to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), on which negotiations have stopped Appearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce on Thursday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told lawmakers that “it is certainly not our plan to have small business or agriculture or anyone else in America feel the brunt of a change in trade policy which is designed to make the U.S. stronger and richer, help our exports, and help all American businesses and farmers and ranchers.” The tariffs imposed by the Trump administration came under criticism during the hearing, including from those who are members of Trump's party.  Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander said the “tariff taxes that the administration had placed began to look like, ‘I’ve got a problem, so I’ll shoot myself in one foot; I’ve got [another] problem, so I’ll shoot myself in the other foot.’” Another Republican senator, Jerry Moran of Kansas, said “trade and exports are how we earn a living in Kansas, and farmers, ranchers, and our nation's manufacturers cannot afford a prolonged trade war.” Mike Bowman contributed to this report.
by [email protected] (Steve Herman) via Economy - Voice of America

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