Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says a potential trade dispute with China could have negative consequences on the new Farm Bill Congress is currently working on.
Politico says Congress may need to factor in possible trade disruptions while working on the new legislation. China announced that dozens of U.S. farm products, including soybeans and beef, could potentially face a 25 percent tariff if the U.S. follows through on its threat to put a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods. The goal of the Trump administration is to force China to change its intellectual property practices. The Chinese announcement came as Perdue was on his third RV tour of rural America.
Perdue tried to reassure Ohio producers that the administration would not allow farmers to be casualties if the trade war escalates. However, he did say Congress may have to draw up a farm bill designed to help producers in case the dispute gets worse. He didn’t go into great detail about what he thought Congress would need to add to the farm bill. Senate Ag Chair Pat Roberts said last month that a special payment because of a trade dispute would complicate an already tough funding situation.
USDA does have broad authority to distribute emergency funding to stabilize the agricultural economy if it becomes necessary.