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Ag Secretary Assures Farmers Trump ‘Has Not Forgotten’ Them

Photo: REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

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Amid fears that the looming trade war with China will hurt farmers and food producers, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue wants farm workers to know President Donald Trump is on their side.

“Through lower taxes and aggressive trade principles, the president is fulfilling his promise to help our economy thrive,” Perdue wrote in an op-ed for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The U.S. and China have spent the past week proposing tariffs and counter tariffs, none of which have yet gone into effect, and as frequently happens, agriculture is one of the industries China would target.

Trump is “threatening to light American agriculture on fire,” Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse said in a statement Thursday. “Let’s absolutely take on Chinese bad behavior, but with a plan that punishes them instead of us. This is the dumbest possible way to do this.”

Perdue has reportedly talked Trump out of canceling trade deals by convincing him the action would be harmful to rural areas with heavy concentrations of Trump voters. He took a map of the farm counties in 2017 that would be adversely affected by a sudden withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement and compared it to Trump-supporting counties.

Perdue says that food producers across the country tell him trade is one of the most important issues for rural America. “During each trip, all across the country, we hear about the same issues time after time: trade and the economy, the workforce and burdensome regulations,” Perdue wrote. “Trump and his entire administration have heard these concerns and are working tirelessly on your behalf. I stand with him as he stands with you in addressing these important issues that impact us all.”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has similarly been working to calm fears in the midst of trade war worries.”We are not in a trade war,” Kudlow said Thursday, and earlier in the week he said he doubts “if there will be any concrete action for several months.”

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