One chart shows why Trump decided to help farmers caught in his trade war with $12 billion in aid

Rebecca Harrington/Business InsiderA field of soybeans sits in a Wisconsin field on July 20, 2018.
  • President Donald Trump announced a plan on Tuesday to provide billions of dollars in emergency aid for farmers who are caught up in the middle of his administration’s trade battles.
  • Since China slapped a retaliatory tariff on soybeans, the US’s largest agricultural export to China, US prices for soybeans have dropped and put a squeeze on farmers.
  • This chart shows how far soybean prices have fallen in 2018.

President Donald Trump’s administration announced a plan on Tuesday to provide $US12 billion in emergency aid for farmers caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s burgeoning trade battles.

“China is targeting our farmers, who they know I love & respect, as a way of getting me to continue allowing them to take advantage of the US,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “They are being vicious in what will be their failed attempt. We were being nice – until now! China made $US517 Billion on us last year.”

Soybeans are the US’s largest agricultural export to China, with more than $US14 billion going across the Pacific in 2016. Since China hit soybeans with a retaliatory tariff, US prices have dropped and put a squeeze on farmers.

According to Investing.com, the price for US soybeans in January was at $US963 per bushel. Now, in July, soybean prices have slipped to $US858 per bushel.

Price of US soybeans, 2018, updated July 22Jenny Cheng/Business InsiderPrice of US soybeans, 2018, updated July 22

US agricultural products have been a major target of trading partners in response to tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on steel, aluminium, and about $US34 billion worth of Chinese goods. Farmers have said other countries’ retaliation to Trump’s trade policies could cost them billions of dollars.

The Department of Agriculture said emergency aid would be provided to farmers through direct assistance, a government food purchase and distribution program, and a trade promotion program.

It would be done in part through a division of the Agriculture Department that was created to provide financial support for farmers, according to the Washington Post.

But the administration’s plan is not expected to be a long-term solution if the trade battles continue. Many Democrats criticised the emergency aid as a short-term fix to a problem Trump created.

“President Trump is sticking taxpayers with the bill for his failed trade war,” Sen. Diane Feinstein of California tweeted on Wednesday. “California’s farmers want access to markets, not a $US12 billion bailout.”

Bob Bryan contributed reporting.

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