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Trump suggests more farm bailouts as China purchases fall short

Posted at 3:26 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 17:26:40-05

President Donald Trump hinted Friday that more farm bailouts could be on the way, "PAID FOR OUT OF THE MASSIVE TARIFF MONEY COMING INTO THE USA."

Tariffs on imports are paid by U.S. companies and consumers, however.

The all-caps tweet comes after U.S. Department of Agriculture chief economist Robert Johansson said that U.S. agricultural exports to China will reach $14 billion in the current fiscal year ending in September, a boost of $4 billion from a year earlier. That's a far cry from the $40 billion to $50 billion in annual agricultural exports that were part of the Phase One trade deal signed in a White House ceremony in January .

Still, even when the trade deal was signed, experts had expressed skepticism about the amount of products that China would ultimately buy. And since the deal was signed, China has been coping with the covid-19 outbreak, or the coronavirus, which has more than 76,000 confirmed cases globally and more than 2,200 deaths — most of them in China. With millions of people in quarantine in China, the country is expected to take an economic hit this year.

Johansson, who made his comments at the Agriculture Department's annual outlook forum, said that even though economic growth in China could take a hit, it may rebound in the middle to end of 2020.


Mr. Trump's suggestion that any farm bailouts would be paid by "tariff money coming into the USA" implies that tariffs are paid from sources outside the U.S., but that's not the case. Even though Mr. Trump has previously falsely stated that tariffs are paid by China and other countries, the duties are paid for by U.S. importers like Walmart or Ford. They eventually swallow that cost or pass it along to American consumers.

China tariffs "totally hurt the U.S.," Gary Cohn, a former economic adviser to Mr. Trump, told Face the Nation last month.