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Farm Bill Could be Used to Shield Farmers From Trade Spat
USAgNet - 04/09/2018

Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas said he assumes the Trump Administration would try to use U.S. farm bill legislation to shield the sector in a growing U.S.-China trade dispute.

According to Reuters, Moran said he assumes the Trump Administration would try to use U.S. farm bill legislation, which helps farmers withstand economic slumps, to shield the sector in a growing U.S.-China trade dispute.

He added that the "better way to handle this is not to put the farmer in the damaging position in the first place."

Beijing rattled grain markets on Wednesday by threatening extra levies on U.S. goods including soybeans, the most valuable U.S. farm export to China, in retaliation for earlier U.S. trade actions. Fears later eased as many cited China's reliance on U.S. soybeans.

But on Friday, China warned it was fully prepared to respond with a "fierce counter strike" if the United States follows through on President Donald Trump's latest threat on Thursday to impose tariffs on an extra $100 billion in Chinese goods.

On Thursday, before Trump threatened the extra tariffs, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, also of Kansas, said the trade conflict created a background of uncertainty for negotiating the farm bill, the omnibus legislation passed by Congress every five years or so.

The U.S. farm bill is the primary agricultural and food policy legislation, which typically uses crop insurance and other programs to help farmers withstand economic slumps. The current bill, passed in 2014 and which was expected to cost $489 billion over five years, is set to expire this year.

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