US announces $12 bln in aid to farmers hurt by trade tariffs

US announces $12 bln in aid to farmers hurt by trade tariffs

WASHINGTON-Agence France-Presse
US announces $12 bln in aid to farmers hurt by trade tariffs

The U.S. government will provide up to $12 billion in aid to American farmers hurt by the retaliatory tariffs imposed by trading partners, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced on July 24.

These actions are aimed “to assist farmers in response to trade damage caused by illegal retaliatory tariffs,” Perdue told reporters.

He said this is a “short-term” solution to help farmers and give President Donald Trump time to negotiate a longer term trade deal.

It was the first recognition by the Trump administration that the president’s trade dispute is hurting Americans. Perdue said the department estimated damage to the agriculture sector at $11 billion.

Trump has in recent months engaged in a multi-front trade confrontation, imposing steep tariffs on steel, aluminum and tens of billions of dollars in Chinese goods, which sparked swift retaliation against key U.S. farm products like soy and pork.

Under the three USDA aid programs, farmers will either receive direct payments or sell their excess production to the government, Perdue said. In addition, the government will work to open new markets.

This will aid producers of soy, sorghum, corn, wheat, pork, dairy, fruit, rice and nuts, all products hit by tariffs imposed in response to U.S. action.

The actions “are a firm statement that other nations cannot bully our agricultural producers to force the United States to cave in,” Perdue said.

“The correct action from other nations would be to stop their bad behavior not to retaliate with illegal tariffs.”

US farmers, trade war, Trump administration