Farmer walks through his soy fields July 6, 2018, in Harvard, Illinois, the same day China imposed retaliatory tariffs aimed at the US soybean market.
NOVA SAFO | AFP | Getty Images
The Trump administration is about to unveil its latest aid package for American farmers who have been hurt by the U.S. trade war with China.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue confirmed Thursday the plan’s centerpiece would be a $16 billion aid program intended to help ease the impact of decreased agricultural purchases from China, one of the consequences of the trade war with Beijing.
Speaking on Fox Business Network on Thursday, Perdue said the aid package would come from the tariffs being collected by the Treasury. Tariffs on Chinese goods have been paid almost entirely by U.S. importers, according to a new International Monetary Fund study, and the costs are then passed on to U.S consumers.
President Donald Trump was scheduled to deliver remarks about U.S. farmers later Thursday.
American farmers are eagerly awaiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest trade aid plan, but there are concerns that producers of corn and wheat could lose out with the package.
“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,” the USDA said in a statement Tuesday.
The agency declined to discuss details of Trump’s plan to help farmers feeling the brunt of retaliatory tariffs from China. However, a source briefed on the new round of relief told CNBC the administration is offering “slightly more” than last year’s aid in terms of payment levels for several commodities but probably “won’t make everyone happy.”
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, wouldn’t provide specific payment amounts under consideration but confirmed the package could be announced as early as Thursday. The direct payments to farmers under USDA’s Market Facilitation Program announced in December was for nine commodities, with soybeans getting about three-fourths of the nearly $10 billion in aid.
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the administration might offer about $2 per bushel for soybeans, or above the $1.65 per bushel given farmers in the earlier round of payments. Bloomberg also reported corn growers might get 4 cents per bushel, up from 1 cent last year, and wheat producers 63 cents compared with 14 cents previously.