President Trump on Monday acknowledged that U.S. farmers could be hurt by his trade disputes with China but said they will “understand” that it’s for the best.
“But if we do a deal with China, if, during the course of a negotiation they want to hit the farmers because they think that hits me, I wouldn’t say that’s nice. But I tell you, our farmers are great patriots,” Trump said.
“These are great patriots. They understand that they’re doing this for the country,” Trump said. “And we’ll make it up to them. And in the end, they’re going to be much stronger than they are right now.”
Trump added that farmers have been “trending downward over an eight-year period” and said that, because of his actions on the North American Free Trade Agreement and China, “farmers will be better off than they ever were.”
President Trump calls American farmers "great patriots" during a Cabinet meeting Monday at the White House. pic.twitter.com/Kb3GcwcT1p
— We Are Iowa Local 5 (@weareiowa5news) April 9, 2018
President Trump asked the U.S. trade representative last week to consider adding $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports, calling it “unfair” for China to have retaliated against Trump’s initial tariffs by slapping massive tariffs on $50 billion worth of US goods.
The White House on Tuesday imposed a $50 billion tariff package on Beijing, to which China responded by announcing $50 billion in tariffs of its own. That’s on top of the 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum the White House previously announced.
The Farm Bureau said in a statement that it has been unambiguous in its opposition to tariffs and support for free trade.
“It’s our hope and expectation that both sides will eventually arrive at an agreement that does not include tariffs,” a spokesperson for the Bureau said. “Whatever happens, you can be certain our policy will support the interests of farmers nationwide.”
Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to assert that the U.S. is “not in a trade war with China.”
He has previously called trade wars “good, and easy to win.”
World Trade Organization director-general Roberto Azevêdo warned last month that the world is at risk of a trade war and deep recession because of President Trump’s announced tariffs of 25 percent on steel on 10 percent on aluminum.
“It is clear that we now see a much higher and real risk of triggering an escalation of trade barriers across the globe,” he said at a meeting of the whole WTO membership. “We cannot ignore this risk and I urge all parties to consider and reflect on this situation very carefully.
“Once we start down this path, it will be very difficult to reverse direction. An eye for an eye will leave us all blind and the world in deep recession. We must make every effort to avoid the fall of the first dominoes.”