Trump tells USDA chief farmers won’t be hurt by China trade dispute

Trump tells USDA chief farmers won’t be hurt by China trade dispute
© Greg Nash

Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueAdministration announces plan to streamline oil and gas extraction in national forests The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — How will Obama impact the midterms? Here are the administration officials who have denied they wrote the anonymous NYT op-ed MORE said on Wednesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE told him farmers will not be hurt by an ongoing trade dispute with China.

Speaking at a town hall discussion in Ohio, Perdue said that the recently announced Chinese tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. products could be concerning to farmers but noted that the president said they shouldn’t worry.

"I talked to the president as recently as last night," Perdue said. "And he said, 'Sonny, you can assure your farmers out there that we're not going to allow them to be the casualties if this trade dispute escalates. We're going to take care of our American farmers. You can tell them that directly.'"

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The new tariffs target a number of U.S. goods, including whiskey and soybeans.

China’s latest tariffs come after Trump announced $50 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods in an attempt to make them reconsider how they handle intellectual property.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley extends deadline for Kavanaugh accuser to decide on testifying Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Kavanaugh accuser seeks additional day to decide on testimony MORE (R-Iowa) warned that Chinese tariffs could greatly hurt farmers.

"The United States should take action to defend its interests when any foreign nation isn’t playing by the rules or refuses to police itself. But farmers and ranchers shouldn’t be expected to bear the brunt of retaliation for the entire country," Grassley said in a statement.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (D-Ill.) said that Illinois farmers — the largest producer of soybeans — will be heavily hurt by China’s retaliation to Trump’s tariffs.

"Illinois’ farmers now join DACA recipients as the latest victims of President Trump’s temper," Durbin said in a tweet. "Illinois is our nation's’ largest producer of soybeans, and a top producer of pork, and will feel China’s retaliation to threats of a trade war more than most. America cannot move forward in a blizzard of tweets and wild threats form this president."

China’s tariffs have renewed fears of an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China, though Trump on Wednesday said the U.S. is not in a trade war with China.