Letter to the Editor: Temporary aid assists farmers

Seems it is “Deja vu” all over again for Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. Her May 25 Delaware State News commentary on the impact of China tariffs on farm commodities is nearly identical to that of Aug. 4, 2018 when she introduced H.R. 6483 to make permanent the President’s temporary relief to farmers. Now Blunt Rochester introduces H.R. 2690, the Trade Assistance for Farmers Act of 2019, which is virtually identical to the former bill.

Blunt Rochester’s legislative response is pure window-dressing. It is near-sighted reactionary legislation like that proposed by Blunt Rochester that got the United States into the costly trade imbalance it now faces with China.

In his 2015 book, “The Hundred-Year Marathon,” Michael Pillsbury, director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute, outlines China’s secret strategy to replace America as the global superpower by the year 2049. To that end, among other measures, China applied for membership to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

China was admitted to the WTO in 2001 as a “developing” country. WTO members, including the U.S., required China to reform their tariff policies before considering them for full membership. China has refused. Due to the WTO’s ineffective enforcement and the tendency of previous administrations to “kick the can down the road,” President Trump inherited this imbalanced tariff situation with China when he took office in 2017.

The president recently called for $16 billion in additional aid, financed in part by the very tariffs collected as a result of the president’s actions. According to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, this is in addition to $8 billion already paid out to offset the “disruption in commodity markets caused by unfair tariffs on U.S. agricultural products.” (Washington Examiner, May 10, 2019).

Free trade must be “free” of unfair tariffs imposed by our trading partners. Negotiations with a belligerent super power which has refused all previous attempts to level the playing field are serious, complex and take time. Our president is aggressively negotiating a long-term trade deal that ensures a robust economy for U.S. farmers and businesses alike. U.S. taxpayers and farmers do not need yet another permanent subsidy program disguised as a “fix” in Blunt Rochester’s H.B. 2690. Permanent bills tie the hands of the president and his team as they work to reverse China’s longstanding currency manipulation and unfair trade practices. The president’s temporary aid for farmers in Delaware and the nation is the right solution.

Lee H. Murphy
Wilmington

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