- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 23, 2019

Farmers and ranchers will begin to receive government aid payments totaling up to $16 billion in late July or early August to ease the impact of Chinese tariffs, the Agriculture Department announced Wednesday.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the aid, which will be delivered in up to three installments through January, “is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions.”

Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China broke off May 10, with no new talks scheduled after the administration accused Beijing of “reneging” on certain commitments.

President Trump then raised tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and China retaliated with new tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. products, aimed largely at the agricultural sector. Mr. Trump also authorized the aid for U.S. farmers.

“China hasn’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property,” Mr. Perdue said. “President Trump has great affection for America’s farmers and ranchers, and he knows they are bearing the brunt of these trade disputes. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them.”

The aid follows a $12 billion emergency farm bailout that Mr. Trump authorized last year as his trade war with China intensified.

But Rep. Jim Costa, California Democrat and chair of the House Agriculture subcommittee on livestock and foreign agriculture, called the latest round of farm aid a “rushed and poorly planned bailout.”

“For more than a year now, producers of every commodity have said the same thing: they want long-term access to export markets, not hasty attempts by the federal government to clean up its own mess,” Mr. Costa said. “I urge the White House to rescind the tariffs and sit down in a constructive manner with the Chinese to address issues that will actually improve the market for our farmers.”

Mr. Perdue said the direct payments of up to $14.5 billion will go to producers of corn, soybeans, cotton, wheat, rice and a variety of other grains.

Dairy and hog farmers also will receive payments.

Mr. Perdue said the government aid will begin “as soon as practical” after Farm Service Agency crop reporting is completed by July 15. The second and third installments will be “evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate,” and would be made in November and early January, he said.

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