Committee Hearing Highlights Differences over Trade Policies and Aid

At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, the split between farmers and lawmakers over the trade policies of President Trump was a big topic of conversation. Another big topic of discussion included the impact of the Phase One trade deal with China. An Agri-Pulse report describes Republicans on the committee as playing down the overall impact of the trade war and saying the trade agreement with China was a “major success.” Democrats pointed out that tariffs are continuing to restrict trade. Both sides of the political aisle said Trump’s duties on imports and the resulting retaliatory tariffs hurt the U.S. agricultural sector. Some people at the hearing were optimistic that China would follow through on its promise to purchase $80 billion worth of farm products over the next two years. Others weren’t convinced and said billions more in government assistance may be needed to further blunt the damage from a continuing loss of overseas exports. Minnesota farmer Tim DuFault was one of the witnesses at the committee hearing and said, “As far as the Phase One deal goes, the purchases that haven’t yet materialized are a promise, while the tariffs are for real. Commodity prices, which plummeted when the trade war began, have actually fallen further after the U.S. and China signed the phase one deal.”