Speaking during a White House event with farmers and ranchers on Thursday, May 23, President Trump pledged another $16 billion in aid for farmers. The latest roll out comes atop $11 billion in aid provided to farmers last year.
President Trump said, “You know, the United States has been taken advantage of for many years by many countries but nobody has done it like China. To end these chronic trading abuses, my administration took necessary and very lawful action to protect America’s economy, security, and farms. We’re taking swift action to remedy all of the injustice that’s been done over the years.”
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that the first of three payments are likely to be made in July or August and suggested that the United States and China were unlikely to have settled their differences by then.
The payments will go to farmers producing roughly two dozen crops, including soybeans, corn, canola, peanuts, cotton, and wheat. Dairy and hog farmers are also eligible.
U.S. soybean exports to China have been hit particularly hard, falling from $12.3 billion in 2017 to just $3.2 billion last year.
President trump explained, “We will ensure that our farmers get the relief they need, and very, very quickly. It’s a good time to be a farmer. We’re going to make sure of that. So today I’m announcing that I have directed Secretary Perdue to provide $16 billion in assistance to America’s farmers and ranchers.”
The president went on to say that much of the $16 billion would come from China in the form of tariffs.
Talks between the world’s two biggest economies broke off earlier this month with no resolution in sight.
President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to discuss the standoff at a meeting of the G-20 major economies in Osaka, Japan, next month. There are no current plans for talks to occur before then. he told reporters that he’s hopeful that at some point we will be able to get together with China on trade and other issues.
The president has imposed 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports and is planning to hit another $300 billion worth, a move that would extend import taxes to just about everything China ships to the United States.
Meanwhile, President Trump suggested he may be open to linking the dispute over Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei to the trade talks.
His administration has singled out Huawei as posing a threat to U.S. national security. Responding to a reporter question Thursday, the president said Huawei is “very dangerous.”
But he added, “If we made a deal, I can imagine Huawei being included in some form of a trade deal.” Asked specifically what that would look like, he replied, “It would look very good for us, I can tell you that.”
As a result of U.S. efforts to restrict commercial cooperation with Huawei, U.S. allies and their companies have increasingly put cooperation with the Chinese giant on hold.