Trump prepares another round of farmer aid as US-China trade tensions escalate
Although details about the deal remain unclear, President Trump previously promised to help out farmers in response to China’s latest retaliatory tariffs. Last week, he told reporters at the White House that the White House could provide about $15 billion in aid to help farmers.
“We’re going to take the highest year, the biggest purchase that China has ever made with our farmers, which is about $15 billion, and do something reciprocal to our farmers so our farmers can do well,” he said at the time.
Bloomberg first reported the news.
“Details on the new trade mitigation program will be forthcoming shortly, but we want to be clear that the program is being designed to avoid skewing planting decisions one way or another,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. “Farmers should continue to make their planting and production decisions with the current market signals in mind, rather than some expectation of what a trade mitigation program might or might not look like, based on a media story.”
China is the biggest buyer of U.S. soybeans, importing more than $12.4 billion worth of the oil seed in 2017, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The sector, however, has been targeted in the nearly year-long tit-for-tat tariff battle between the U.S. and China.
Last year, as a result of the tariffs, soybeans in storage totaled about 3.74 billion bushels, up 18 percent from the prior year, according to data from the USDA.
According to Bloomberg, the aid plan could include payments of about $2 per bushel to soybean growers, 63 cents per bushel to wheat growers and 4 cents per bushel to corn growers. The administration’s last aid plan included $1.65 per bushel for soybean growers, 14 cents per bushel for wheat and 1 cent per bushel for corn.
In July, the Trump administration announced a $12 billion farm aid package — including $4.7 billion in direct payments to farmers — to help shield them from the effects of global trade spats with China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union. The bulk of the payments went to soybean farmers.
FOX Business’ Blake Burman contributed to this report.