U.S.: Trump says "great patriot farmers" will benefit from trade war

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U.S.: Trump says

U.S. President Donald Trump has said that the country's farmers will reap the benefits from an escalating trade war with China.

In a series of Tweets on Tuesday, he said: "Our great Patriot Farmers will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of what is happening now."

If China stops buying American farm products because of tariffs, Trump said, farmers will be compensated. "This money will come from the massive Tariffs being paid to the United States for allowing China, and others, to do business with us. The Farmers have been “forgotten” for many years. Their time is now!” he said.

The trade war dispute between the U.S. and China escalated on Friday after Trump raised tariffs on US$200bn of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. China on Monday announced additional tariffs on US$60bn of U.S. imports.

China's latest round of tariffs, which are due to be implemented on June 1, affect U.S. agricultural exports including frozen peas, frozen spinach and frozen berries. Fresh fruits like cherries, citrus, apples and table grapes are not targeted in this round, but exports have already fallen dramatically since China raised tariffs from 10% to 50% last year.

Meanwhile, a representative of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) last week told FreshFruitPortal.com that the higher U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports will raise input costs for farmers, and have also dampened hopes in the agricultural industry that the trade war could be resolved quickly.

One of the most heavily affected U.S. agricultural crops affected by the Chinese tariffs last year were soybeans, with exports having collapsed when the trade war began.

“We’ve been understanding during this negotiation process, but we cannot withstand another year in which our most important foreign market continues to slip away and soybean prices are 20 to 25 percent, or even more, below pre-tariff levels,” said John Heisdorffer, chairman of the American Soybean Association (ASA)

“The sentiment out in farm country is getting grimmer by the day. Our patience is waning, our finances are suffering, and the stress from months of living with the consequences of these tariffs is mounting.”

Trump said on Monday that the U.S. Administration was planning to provide about US$15bn in aid to help U.S. farmers whose products may be targeted with tariffs by China in a deepening trade war.

A new aid program would be the second round of assistance for farmers, after the Department of Agriculture’s US$12bn plan last year to compensate for lower prices for farm goods and lost sales stemming from trade disputes with China and other nations.

JP Morgan on Tuesday downgraded the stock of Deere, the farm equipment manufacturer, warning that the agriculture sector is “rapidly deteriorating” and that additional farm aid would likely do little to buttress the fortunes of farmers.

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