Trump Speaks on China, USMCA, and Deregulation at Trade Aid Press Conference
At a White House press conference with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall by his sides, President Trump touted a trade aid plan announced by his administration Thursday morning. Not all the details of the $16 billion farm aid plan have been announced, but a press statement from USDA says the second batch of trade aid includes up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to farmers.
After thanking farmers and ag leaders, Trump reviewed the history of the relationship between the U.S. and China.
He said, “The United States has been taken advantage of for many years by many countries, but nobody’s done it like China. To end these chronic trading abuses, my administration took necessary and very lawful action to protect America’s economy, security, and farms.”
Turning his attention to farmers and their support Trump said, “They didn’t say, ‘Oh you shouldn’t do this because we’re going to have a bad year.’ Because they’ve had 20 bad years if you really look.”
Trump continued, “We will ensure that our farmers get the relief they need, and very, very quickly. It’s a good time to be a farmer, we’re going to make sure of that.”
As he explained the instructions he’d given Secretary Perdue in developing assistance for farmers, Trump assured the press the money “all comes from China.”
The fund of $16 billion will help “keep our cherished farms thriving and make clear that no country has veto on America’s economic and national security,” Trump continued. “We can’t let that happen, ever.”
China Negotiation Outlook
Trump went on to say, “I remain hopeful at some point we will probably get together with China. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, that’s fine. That’s absolutely fine.” The president noted he plans to see President Xi at the upcoming G20 meeting.
Later Trump said, “I think things probably are going to happen with China fast because I can’t imagine that they can be thrilled with thousands of companies leaving their shores for other places.”
Despite the “trade attack” on farmers from China, Trump reported net farm income is on the rise. “Because our economy is doing so well, it is forecast to be $8 billion higher than in 2016.”
Agricultural exports are also forecast to rise $10 billion above 2016 levels, added Trump.
“Just last week we reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico to lift major tariffs on American agriculture, and we opened up the beef exports with Japan,” Trump said proudly. “That’s a big deal.”
Calling NAFTA the worst trade deal in the history of our country, Trump expressed his support of USMCA. He said many Democrats support the agreement, despite Nancy Pelosi.
Moving on to the topic of deregulation, Trump said, “As of next week we are signing some additional voiding of some really dumb regulations. That will make farming a lot easier, a lot better.”
The president continued by explaining his disapproval of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). “It’s got a beautiful title, but everything inside is a disaster for our farmers.”
Wrapping up his agriculture-related comments, Trump expressed his support for ethanol, rural broadband, and “opportunity zones.”