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The Trump administration moved on Tuesday to mitigate for USA farmers the economic damage of the president's escalating trade war with allies and China, announcing $12 billion in emergency relief. Sen.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said the plan would spend billions on "gold crutches", adding, "America's farmers don't want to be paid to lose - they want to win by feeding the world".

European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, who will accompany Mr Juncker on his United States visit, said that the EU was preparing a list of USA products to hit if Mr Trump imposes tariffs. "Just be a little patient".

Some farmers are not eligible for the direct financial assistance provided by the program.

"Tariffs are the greatest!".

"Our emphasis continues to be on trade and restoring markets, and we will continue to push for a swift and sure end to the trade war and the tariffs impacting American agriculture".

Senator Jodi Ernst also agreed, writing: "While a trade mitigation package could boost farmer morale in the short term, this is ultimately a short term fix".

"There may be some scope for Australian producers to pick up some of that [soybean] demand, on the other hand you've got American exports that were previously going to China that are likely being diverted to other markets as well", he said.

Coming up: The US is also considering additional tariffs of more than $200bn on Chinese products, as well as duties on foreign cars and vehicle parts, which represent more than $300bn in annual trade.

"I think there are better tools that we can use to hold abusers of trade law and people whose countries perpetuate unfair trade practices, [and] get them to play fairly", House Speaker Paul Ryan said.


Later this week, Trump will visit Iowa and IL, two other farm-belt states, as he seeks to shore up support for Republican candidates in those regions.

Currently, the EU has a 10 percent tariff on US vehicle imports, while the USA has a 2.5 percent tariff on European cars.

A second proposal would be for a TTIP-lite deal, reducing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, acomprehensive trade agreement between the USA and the European Union pursued by Barack Obama and dumped by Trump, to a limited one focused only on industrial tariffs. "This administration's tariffs and bailouts aren't going to make America great again, they're just going to make it 1929 again". China, for example, imposed 25% tariffs on soybeans, corn and wheat along with beef, pork and poultry since July 6.

"We're losing access into even Mexican markets where we sell certain commodity products that were worth several million dollars", he said.

The moves have been unsettling to lawmakers with districts dependent upon manufacturers and farmers affected by the retaliatory tariffs.

The size of the direct payments to farmers as a result of trade shortfalls would be unprecedented, said Scott Irwin, an agricultural economist at the University of IL. "I'm very exasperated. This is serious".

The imposition of punishing tariffs on imported goods has been a favored tactic by Trump, but it has prompted US partners to retaliate, creating risks for the economy. He has also threatened to slap tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, potentially targeting imports that previous year totaled $335 billion.

To move forward with either, the US will have to drop the tariffs on steel and aluminum implemented last month and agree to not move forward with tariffs on European cars, the official said.

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Kevin Freking and Matthew Daly in Washington, James MacPherson in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Roxana Hegeman in Wichita, Kansas, contributed.


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