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Trump Offers Farmers Caught in Trade War $16B in New Aid

A $12B package was announced last summer
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2019 6:40 PM CDT
President Trump, accompanied by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, center left, speaks during a meeting to support farmers and ranchers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – With more than a dozen farmers at his side, President Trump announced a $16 billion aid package to compensate farmers for their losses in the trade war with China. "This support for farmers will be paid for by the billions of dollars the Treasury takes in" from China, he said. That's not the way it works, the Washington Post points out: China does not pay the tariffs; importers do. Some importers then pass the cost on to American consumers. The administration had announced $12 billion in emergency measures in July. The relief announced Thursday will be distributed to farmers in three installments, with the first payment in July or August, the others in November and January 2020, if the tariffs are still in place.

Randy Spronk, a hog farmer and past president of the National Pork Producers Council who attended the White House meeting, said farmers realize the aid will not make up for their losses in a trade war. "But it makes enough of a difference to keep a lot of farmers so they can survive," Spronk said, per the Post. The aid for farmers will ultimately come from taxpayers, said one expert, ABC reports. "Do the Chinese pay some of the tariff? Yes, probably in specific cases," he said. "Do they pay most of it? No, the consumer pays most of it ultimately." The American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union said that they appreciate the help, but that farmers would prefer to have a long-term trade deal with China. (Trump backed away from tariffs on allies.)

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