Trump waffles on trade war

Herb Boyd | 8/29/2019, 2:31 p.m.
Trump’s appearance at the recently concluded G-7 summit did little to resolve the ongoing trade war with China.
President Donald Trump White House photo

Trump’s appearance at the recently concluded G-7 summit did little to resolve the ongoing trade war with China. As usual, there was no consistency with his diplomacy, especially when it came to his dealing with China. In one breath China’s leader Xi Jinping was the “enemy” of the people and in the next he was “a great man.”

Meanwhile, U.S. farmers remain in a quandary, caught in the vortex of Trump’s vacillations on trade and the tariffs. Many see themselves as collateral damage and manufacturers and consumers echo their complaints.

According to recent reports, the trade dispute has had a direct impact on the sales of wheat, pork, soybeans, and other agricultural products in the wake of China’s retaliatory policies.

In previous accounts the problem with the trade in soybeans was highlighted by Black farmers who, several months ago, were still waiting on the promised relief from the tariffs that had hurt the purchase of soybeans by China. The longstanding contracts with China were suddenly no longer in effect and they began exercising the option of buying soybeans elsewhere, most notably from Brazil.

Currently, there are reports of a number of bankruptcy filings by farmers and delinquent loan rates have increased, according to the American Farm Bureau.

Last week, Trump signed the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019, which raises the debt limit from $4.1 million to $10 million. It’s to be seen if the law will immediately help struggling farmers, many of them victimized by the tariffs and other disruptions.

And if white farmers are suffering, chances are it’s much worse for Black farmers, who comprise only a little over 1 percent or some 45,000 farmers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Black farmers earn less than $40,000 a year, while white farmers make nearly $200,000.

Will the disparity between the groups of farmers continue when they file for bankruptcy? Or what next from the waffling Trump? Stay tuned.