Tag Archives: President Trump

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture expressed disappointment this week in the content of President Trump’s budget proposal.

NASDA CEO Barbara Glenn says the budget request would “negatively impact agriculture, particularly at a time when many in agriculture are facing a serious economic downturn.” NASDA expects Congress to ensure the programs agriculture needs, including those within the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are adequately funded.

The budget includes cuts to crop insurance and other programs. However, one positive thread throughout the budget, according to NASDA, was the theme of cooperative federalism, particularly in the realm of food safety. The proposal called for a $16 million increase in funding to advance implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act with a specific focus on cooperative agreements. NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories.

The Congressional Research Service is looking into whether or not President Trump can legally withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement on his own. Politico says it’s a question the trade world would like an answer to sooner rather than later.

Can the president withdraw without Congressional support? Politico says the answer is not clear. Congresses’ research arm says, if you look solely at international law, it looks like the Trump Administration would be able to act on its own. However, it’s quite likely that the president would have problems based on domestic law. It’s difficult to say how a court case would get resolved if affected companies pursued litigation. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the original NAFTA agreement as a way to put pressure on Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement.

Administration aides have told Politico that there are no immediate plans to back out of the existing deal. One factor that might increase the possibility of legal action is if Congress signals disapproval of any attempt to withdraw from NAFTA. In the past, the Supreme Court typically says presidential power to act unilaterally is at its weakest when the White House takes action that Congress doesn’t agree with.

The Trump 2020 budget proposal will include “big cuts” to the Department of Agriculture, according to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

The budget request will propose cutting non-defense programs by five percent. However, Politico reports USDA is likely to face steeper budget cuts. Perdue noted that Congress usually disregards the president’s budget request, which in recent years has unsuccessfully called for cuts to USDA. Perdue says he would like to see the process return to a negotiation between the president and Congress, saying: “It’s like buying and selling a piece of land. You’ve got to get within the realm of negotiation there for people to take you seriously in that regard.”

The Trump administration has previously proposed large cuts to crop insurance, agriculture research and rural development. Perdue says the budget will be conservative, but speaking of his team, says “we’ve done our best to advocate for farmers.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Sunday he will extend a deadline to escalate tariffs on Chinese imports, citing “substantial progress” in weekend talks between the two countries.

Trump tweeted that there had been “productive talks” on some of the difficult issues dividing the U.S. and China, adding that “I will be delaying the U.S. increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1.”

Trump said that if negotiations progress, he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida resort to finalize an agreement.

U.S. and Chinese negotiators met through the weekend as they seek to resolve a trade war that’s rattled financial markets.

Trump had warned he would escalate the tariffs he has imposed on $200 billion in Chinese imports, from 10 to 25 percent, if the two sides failed to reach a deal. The increase was scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. EST on March 2.

The reprieve is likely to be greeted with relief by financial markets.

The world’s two biggest economies have been locked in a conflict over U.S. allegations that China steals technology and forces foreign companies to hand over trade secrets in an aggressive push to challenge American technological dominance.

The two counties have slapped import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods. The conflict has unnerved investors and clouded the outlook for the global economy, putting pressure on Trump and Xi to reach a deal.

“Trump clearly wants a deal and so do the Chinese, which certainly raises the probability that the two sides will come to some sort of negotiated agreement, even if it is a partial one, in the coming weeks,” said Cornell University economist Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division.

On Twitter, Trump said the two sides had made headway on issues including protection of trade secrets, forced technology transfer and U.S. agricultural sales to China. But the administration did not immediately provide details.

Business groups and lawmakers in Congress want to see a comprehensive deal that forces the Chinese to change their behavior and that can be enforced. The U.S. has accused China of failing to meet past commitments to reform its economic policies.

“Encouraging news from @POTUS that progress is being made in a trade deal with China. Hopefully this leads to an agreement that stops China’s theft of US intellectual property and avoids a full blown trade war,” tweeted Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

But critics worry that the president has given up leverage. “They now have lost the advantage of a deadline,” said Philip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a White House economist under President George W. Bush, adding that “I see the odds tilting” in China’s favor.

The agriculture group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland commissioned a study on the impact of the trade was on the U.S. economy if the trade war with China picks up again in March, when a temporary truce between the countries runs expires.

The study shows the U.S. economy could lose up to 2.2 million jobs and the average family of four would pay an extra $2,400 for goods and services every year. The study was prepared by the firm Trade Partnership Worldwide. It considered four scenarios, including the worst-case possibility in which new tariffs are slapped on auto imports, as well as all Chinese goods getting hit with a 25 percent tariff. The report says, “In some instances, the tariff actions erase all of the anticipated gains from tax reform.”

Republican and Democratic senators held a news conference this week at the Capitol to discuss the trade study and share stories from constituents that have been hurt by the trade war. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer went before Congress this week and heard a lot about the need to remove the tariffs on aluminum and steel imports. Senate Finance Chair Chuck Grassley told reporters after the 90-minute meeting with Lighthizer that, “It was made very clear that the aluminum and steel tariffs should go before Congress takes up the USMCA agreement.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and two other coalitions with dozens of trade associations involved are backing legislation dealing with tariffs in national security situations. Legislation before Congress would require congressional approval before the president can impose tariffs based on “national security.” President Donald Trump used that authority to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and he’s threatened to do the same thing with foreign-made vehicles and imported auto parts.

Similar bills introduced last year to limit that authority didn’t make it through Congress. However, it’s a little more uncertain now that the Democrats control the House of Representatives. Business groups of all varieties say that the Trump tariffs and retaliatory duties that came from our trading partners in response have hurt American businesses. They say U.S. industry, farmers, and workers have all suffered financial strain and it’s time for Congress to step up and assert itself when it comes to American trade policy. Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, says, “The support of such a broad cross-section of industry, agriculture, and retail groups says a lot about how harmful the steel and aluminum tariffs have been.”

The Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act was introduced in both the House and Senate on January 30th, and supporters are still trying to figure out how much interest there is from other lawmakers.