European Union prepares retaliatory tariffs on $20 billion of US goods

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The U.S. readied a plan today to send billions in emergency aid to farmers who have been hurt by President Donald Trump's trade disputes with China and other American trading partners.

Trump tomorrow is to meet with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who will try to dissuade the US president from escalating the trans-Atlantic trade conflict.

"This is a short-term solution that will give President Trump and his administration the time to work on long-term trade deals", said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as administration officials argued that the plan was not a "bailout" of the nation's farmers. "This is a temporary measure, hopefully to show China and other countries they can not bully the U.S.to caving in on unfair trade practices".

In addition to the direct impact of tariffs on American farm products, farmers have also been hurt by USA tariffs on foreign steel imports.

Stephen Kirchner, from the University of Sydney's United States Studies Centre said that the $14 billion soybean industry is one of the hardest hit USA agricultural exports, after China slapped a 25 per cent tariff on all oilseeds.

Farm products have borne the brunt of tariffs imposed by trading partners angered by USA trade actions, and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the aid program will provide relief.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday bragged about the trade wars he started - even though reports from around the country indicate that these trade wars are poised to hammer American farmers.

President Trump "has promised that he had the back of every American farmer and rancher", Perdue said. "This administration's tariffs and bailouts aren't going to make America great again, they're just going to make it 1929 again", he said.

In Kansas City, Mo., meanwhile, Trump told a veterans' convention that he was trying to renegotiate trade agreements that he said have hurt American workers, and he asked for patience ahead of key talks. Michael Petefish, the president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, said on CNN that an argument could be made that the trade war has caused $12 billion worth of damage to soybean farmers alone.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse, a frequent Trump critic, said the president's trade policies recalled a past of perilous economic instability. "I don't want us to have yet another one".

"This is an occasion to de-dramatise any potential tensions around trade and engage in an open and constructive dialogue", Juncker's spokesman said on Monday.

Sorghum is only one out of many farm products hit by tariffs from China and other nations in response to the Trump administration's tariffs.

Ryan's remarks came a couple hours after Trump tweeted that "Tariffs are the greatest!" and threatened to impose additional penalties on USA trading partners.

The U.S. has also imposed tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products and threatened tariffs on $500 billion more in goods.

"A breakthrough on NAFTA would be preferable", said Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts earlier on Tuesday when rumors of the package began to circulate.

Preliminary details of the agricultural aid program that emerged Tuesday indicate the administration will tap the Commodity Credit Corporation, an entity created during the Great Depression to support farmers, to borrow directly from the Treasury for aid to agriculture.

Corker said farmers want 'trade, not aid'.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said the administration's move was "encouraging for the short term. It means that they are competitive", Mr. Trump told Glor.

However this morning European Union commissioner Guenther Oettinger said the bloc would be "ready to discuss a reduction and restructuring of all tariffs in all sectors" provided "the existing punitive tariffs" are lifted first. Trump wrote on Twitter. Trump risks escalating the trade war with the suggestion he might impose more tariffs on automobiles and other products if countries don't negotiate better trade deals with the United States.

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