President Donald Trump further hiked tariff rates on $200 billion of Chinese imports last Friday. Now, the administration is trying to assure farmers and ranchers that they’ll get more help to deal with Beijing’s retaliation. Media reports say Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue put out a Twitter post last Friday saying that USDA will be working on a relief plan “quickly.” The president says the administration may buy up to $15 billion worth of U.S. farm commodities and send them to needy countries. However, Politico says that plan might take months to get going, would offer little in the way of relief to farmers, and could possibly sow even more chaos in the world markets. It’s difficult to picture that food aid programs could buy up enough commodities to significantly reduce huge stockpiles and, thus, give farmers a boost to crop prices in the opinion of former USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber.
The Trump trade agenda is facing the double-whammy of increasing tensions with China and major opposition in Congress to the USMCA trade pact. As Trump eyes the 2020 election cycle, Politico says there isn’t a lot to show for his trade promises other than frustrated farmers and a turbulent stock market.