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Bloomberg says he would de-escalate trade tensions with China

EconomyFeb 28, 2020 12:39PM ET
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© Reuters. U.S. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks at a campaign rally in Houston, Texas

By Jason Lange

MEMPHIS (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg on Friday pledged to de-escalate U.S.-China trade tensions, make it easier for farmers to hire foreign laborers and increase federal agricultural research.

The former New York mayor's farm policy program, first reported by Reuters, comes ahead of the March 3 nomination contests in 14 states, including farm-heavy states like Minnesota and Oklahoma.

Bloomberg, a billionaire who is self-financing his campaign, is a leading candidate in the Democratic nomination contest to take on Republican President Donald Trump in the November election.

He has been one of Trump's harshest critics on the campaign trail - sometimes trading personal insults with the president - and on Friday he slammed the administration over its trade policies which have led trading partners, notably China, to put heavy tariffs on U.S. farm exports.

"Trump's trade war has been devastating for America's farmers," he said in a statement.

Despite Trump's trade policies, polls indicate he still enjoys broad support among farmers.

Bloomberg's plan does not provide many details on how he would resolve trade differences, but he pledged to "unlock fair and open markets for American farmers by holding China accountable." He also said he would work more with allies and the World Trade Organization "while de-escalating U.S.-China trade tensions."

Trump has clashed with China over trade policy, leading both sides to levy tariffs on the other's exports. The administration has already approved $28 billion in government aid for farmers to offset tumbling farm commodities prices.

A deal that came into effect this month has reduced some tensions, with China slated to increase purchases of U.S. goods. However, a coronavirus outbreak is slowing China's economy, calling into question its ability to make the required purchases.

In his plan, Bloomberg pledged to double federal investments in agricultural research and make an agricultural visa program "more flexible for farm workers and farmers." He also vowed to bolster small farms by reversing some Trump administration moves, including shuttering an agency, GIPSA, charged with enforcing antitrust law in the meatpacking sector.

As he has risen in public opinion polls, Bloomberg has also drawn growing scrutiny and attacks from rivals, including a social media post promoted by Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr. That post showed 2016 remarks by Bloomberg which were edited so that it appeared he was describing farming as simplistic.

The unedited remarks show Bloomberg was describing the history of "agrarian society" rather than modern farming.

Bloomberg says he would de-escalate trade tensions with China
 

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Comments (3)
Vince Lau
Vince Lau Feb 28, 2020 12:46PM ET
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The big question is he for America or against.
Chris Martin
Chris Martin Feb 28, 2020 12:46PM ET
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Well, he does a ton of business in China
Van Doza
Van Doza Feb 28, 2020 12:46PM ET
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I don't think it matters. Certainly he is willing to trash the 2nd Amendment to reinvent the Constitution according to his personal interpretation rather than that of the Judiciary. He wants power to adminster the country in any way he sees fit, and the money that results from it. He is the least trustworthy of any Dem candidate.
akljsdf askldf
akljsdf askldf Feb 28, 2020 12:46PM ET
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he is for China and will sell out America in the process
John Klan
John Klan Feb 28, 2020 9:12AM ET
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He just got the China vote.
Chris Martin
Chris Martin Feb 28, 2020 9:07AM ET
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Yes, I'm sure Mike's fair trade thoughts regarding a communist country he has enormous dealings with would be de-escalated in Americans favor... or should it be in China's favor... I'm sure he'd make the decision that's best for us?
 
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