Trump Agriculture chief says farmers are 'one of the casualties' of trade war with China

Trump Agriculture chief says farmers are 'one of the casualties' of trade war with China
© Getty Images

Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueOvernight Health Care: Trump reportedly lashed out at health chief over polling | Justices to hear ObamaCare birth control case | Trump rolls back Michelle Obama school lunch rules Trump to roll back Michelle Obama's school lunch rules on vegetables, fruits Cities, states sue over planned Trump cuts to food stamps MORE said in a new interview that farmers were a casualty of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE's escalating trade dispute China. 

"[American farmers] are one of the casualties here with trade disruption," Perdue told CNN. "We knew going in that when you flew the penalty flag on China, the retaliation, if it came, would be against the farmer."

The comments from Perdue come amid a months-long dispute between the U.S. and China that has led to retaliatory tariffs from both nations. 


China's government in 2018 imposed duties on US soybean, corn, and wheat after Trump enforced tariffs on Chinese products.

The imposition of those tariffs caused American agricultural products to be more expensive for Chinese importers, which lead to many private buyers to stop purchasing American soybeans and wheat altogether, CNN reported. 

The news network added that many farmers threw their support behind Trump's goal to acquire a better trade deal with China. But that support has appeared to wane as tensions continue to persist. 

The president has moved to offer aid to farmers impacted by the trade war. The administration in late May announced a new $16 billion aid package for farmers that would provide direct payments to help them make up for losses resulting from retaliatory tariffs Beijing imposed on major U.S. crop. 

"I've told the President -- and the President understands -- you can't pay the bills with patriotism. We know that, and certainly he knows that. That's why he's trying to supplement the damage they're having from trade disruptions with market facilitation," Perdue said, before adding that farmers shouldn't expect aid next year. 
"I'm not going to promise anything for 2020," he said.
Trump said last week that he would have an "extended meeting" with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 Summit in Japan. Perdue said that he thinks a trade deal can be made, adding that it "may be done quickly."