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Trump Launches 2nd Round of Payments to Farmers

He cites 'unjustified trade retaliation'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 18, 2018 12:48 AM CST
Justin Roth holds a handful of soybeans at the Brooklyn Elevator in Brooklyn, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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(Newser) – President Trump has authorized the Agriculture Department to launch the second and final round of $11 billion in trade mitigation payments to farmers hard hit by tariffs. In a tweet on Monday, Trump said he is fulfilling a promise to protect farmers against "unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations." "Our economy is stronger than ever–we stand with our Farmers!" the president said. The Trump administration in July announced it would provide up to $12 billion to offset losses from Trump's trade disputes with China and other countries. The first round of checks went out in September.

In total, producers of almonds, corn, cotton, dairy, hogs, sorghum, soybeans, fresh sweet cherries, and wheat will receive roughly $9.5 billion, the AP reports. Soybean farmers will get the largest share. China resumed buying American soybeans last week, although exports to the country are still down an estimated 97% for the year, CNN reports. Roughly $1.2 billion is earmarked for a food purchase and distribution program and $200 million to promote trade. "This assistance will help with short-term cash flow issues as we move into the new year," Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement Monday. (A soybean-laden US ship went in circles for a month waiting for tariffs to be reversed.)

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