Farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs from China are set to benefit from a generous aid package issued by President Trump. The president unveiled a new $16 billion bailout for farmers during remarks in the White House Roosevelt room. This is in addition to the $12 billion in emergency relief the administration handed out for farmers last year.
According to a statement from the Agriculture Department, the Commodity Credit Corporation, a program that helps support American farmers by buying their crops, will make $14.5 billion in direct payments to agricultural producers for a wide range of products. The payments will be made in up to three sets, starting in late July or early August.
Another $1.4 billion is earmarked for a program to purchase surplus commodities affected by the trade war. These surplus commodities will be distributed to schools, food banks, and other programs for the poor. The last $100 million will be put towards developing new export markets for American farmers.
President Trump’s recent decision to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods Chinese, and to start the process to tax another $300 billion, has dashed hopes for a quick resolution to the China trade fight. The Chinese government has vowed to further retaliate on American products, focing in particular on agricultural goods. President Trump has suggested that he would be happy to keep the trade fight going indefinitely.
The Trump administration also announced last week that it would blacklist Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei over national security concerns. More restrictions on dealing with Chinese tech companies could come soon, with the president reportedly eying Chinese surveillance camera maker Hikvision as the next target. The crackdown has already prompted some American companies to shift business away from China.
The spat has halted progress toward a trade agreement between the two countries. Significant differences remain between what the American negotiators are asking for and what Beijing is willing to commit to. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that there are no additional meetings with Beijing scheduled for the near term.