Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Trump administration looks to bail out US farmers

The Trump administration is looking into ways of offsetting the financial losses American farmers have suffered from its trade battle with China. Beijing is set to raise duties by 25 percentage points on Friday on $34bn of US goods in retaliation for new American tariffs. Among the biggest targets are soyabeans, the largest agricultural export to China.

The threat has pushed the US soyabean price below $9 a bushel, an unprofitable price for many farms. Last week, futures slid a further 4 per cent.

Consideration is being given to using the Commodity Credit Corporation set up in 1935 by President Roosevelt. It has $30bn in borrowing authority from the Treasury and latitude in how its funds are spent. Congress in March broadened its authority by lifting curbs on its authority to support crop prices and remove commodity surpluses.

Farm groups have set to head off President Trump's aggressive trade tactics against China, Mexico, Canada and the EU without success. There is concern that in the lomg run tariffs could lead to more land being converted to soyabeans in Brazil.

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