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Ag secretary: 'Donald Trump will protect American farmers from China’s trade retaliation'

• Jun 26, 2018 at 8:00 AM

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following op-ed article, written by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, was submitted to the Reflector by the USDA Office of Communications. The full version has been published in USA Today.

In 2011, a group of Chinese nationals dug up genetically engineered seeds from an Iowa corn field and planned to steal and send them back to China, so they could be reverse engineered. Those seeds, the result of years of research and millions of dollars of American investment, now stand as one of countless pieces of evidence in the case against China for intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices.

American producers have benefited from the policies of the Trump administration, including historic tax reforms and reduced regulations. And farmers know that 20 cents of every dollar of their income relies on trade, which is why they are watching the situation with China closely. The simple truth is that when trading partners break the rules, there must be consequences.

There is no denying that the disruption in trade relations with China is unsettling to many in agriculture, but if the president succeeds in changing China’s behavior, America’s farmers will reap the benefits.

In the meantime, the president has instructed me to craft a strategy to support our farmers in the face of retaliatory tariffs. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we have tools at our disposal to support farmers faced with losses that might occur due to downturns in commodities markets.

But farmers should know this: They have stood with President Trump and his policies, and we will make good on our promise to stand with them as well. If China does not soon mend its ways, we will quickly begin fulfilling our promise to support producers, who have become casualties of these disputes.

The president is a tough negotiator, and I am confident that American agriculture will flourish because of trade relationships that are smarter, stronger and better than before. China might underestimate the strength and resolve of American farmers, but the president does not. And he will not allow our agricultural producers to suffer because of China’s continued bad actions.

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