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Trump pledges $16B for farmers hurt by China trade war – National

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Trump pledges 16B for farmers hurt by China trade war National

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WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump rolled out another $16 billion in aid for farmers hurt by his trade policies, and financial markets shook Thursday on the growing realization that the U.S. and China are far from settling a bitter, year-long trade dispute.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that the first of three payments is likely to be made in July or August and suggested that the U.S. and China were unlikely to have settled their differences by then.


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“The package we’re announcing today ensures that farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners,” Perdue said.

The latest bailout comes atop $11 billion in aid Trump provided farmers last year.

“We will ensure our farmers get the relief they need and very, very quickly,” Trump said.

Seeking to reduce America’s trade deficit with the rest of the world and with China in particular, Trump has imposed import taxes on foreign steel, aluminum, solar panels and dishwashers and on thousands of Chinese products.

U.S trading partners have lashed back with retaliatory tariffs of their own, focusing on U.S. agricultural products in a direct shot at the American heartland, where support for Trump runs high.

William Reinsch, a trade analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former U.S. trade official, called the administration’s aid package for farmers “a fairly overt political ploy.”

“It’s not economics,” Reinsch said. Trump wants win the farm states again in the 2020 election, “and he’s got members of Congress beating up on him” to resolve the trade conflicts.

Financial markets buckled Thursday on heightened tensions between the U.S. and China. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 286 points, or 1 per cent, to 25,490. It had been down 448 points earlier in the day.


READ MORE:
Farmers still support Trump despite costly trade war with China

U.S. crude plunged 6 per cent on fears that the trade standoff could knock the global economy out of kilter and kill demand for energy.

Talks between the world’s two biggest economies broke off earlier this month with no resolution to a dispute over Beijing’s aggressive efforts to challenge American technological dominance. The U.S. charges that China is stealing technology, unfairly subsidizing its own companies and forcing U.S. companies to hand over trade secrets if they want access to the Chinese market.

WATCH: Trump says nobody can estimate how much intellectual property China steals, before estimating himself





Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to discuss the standoff at a meeting of the Group of 20 major economies in Osaka, Japan, next month. There are no current plans for talks to occur before then.

Briefing reporters on the farm aid package, Perdue said he doubted that “a trade deal could be consummated before” the first payments to farmers in July or August.

The second payment will be made around November and the third likely in early 2020, USDA officials said, unless a trade deal has been reached by then.

READ MORE: ‘Fight to the finish’- China vows to continue trade war as U.S. threatens $300B in tariffs

The direct payments will make up $14.5 billion of the $16 billion package and will be handed out on a county-by-county basis. The amounts will be determined by how much each county has suffered from the retaliatory duties imposed by China, as well as previous tariffs put in place by the European Union and Turkey.

The rest of the package includes $1.4 billion to purchase surplus food commodities from farmers and distribute them to U.S. schools and food banks, and $100 million to help develop new export markets overseas.

WATCH: Dems only ‘being nice’ to Pelosi because she’s ‘disintegrating’, Trump says





The payments will go to farmers producing roughly two dozen crops, including soybeans, corn, canola, peanuts, cotton and wheat. Dairy and hog farmers are also eligible.

U.S. soybean exports to China have been hit particularly hard, falling from $12.3 billion in 2017 to just $3.2 billion last year.

The aid offsets some of the losses. But farmers are worried about the future and whether they can win back lost sales in China, a market they’ve spent years breaking into. “I don’t think any kind of bailout package, even if it was permanent, would substitute for the loss markets,” said Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council and a former U.S. trade official.


READ MORE:
Trump claims China will pay for tariffs — but the burden falls on U.S. businesses, consumers

Trump has said that China is footing the bill for the farm bailout by paying the tariffs. But tariffs are taxes paid by U.S. importers, and studies have shown that American consumers and businesses usually end up absorbing the higher costs.

Perdue acknowledged that the tariffs, regardless of who pays them, are sent to the Treasury Department and not earmarked for the relief program. But he said that China is “indirectly” paying for the aid.

“The president feels that China is paying for this program through the tariffs,” Perdue said.

WATCH: Trump claims CUSMA trade agreement too complicated for Nancy Pelosi to understand





Trump has imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports and is planning to hit another $300 billion worth, a move that would extend import taxes to just about everything China ships to the United States.

Among those bracing for higher costs if the new tariffs kick in is Jay Foreman, CEO of Basic Fun!, a Boca Raton, Florida, toy company that imports from China.

“The thought of the government taking my money and giving it to farmers as subsidies to support their loses doesn’t sit well,” Foreman said by email. “It’s not fair to take money from a Florida company to support an Iowa farmer! Farmers don’t want welfare. I’m sure they, like us, just want open free markets to trade in!”

Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this story.



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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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