WASHINGTON — President Trump announced $16 billion in fresh aid to help farmers and ranchers who have been hurt by his year-long trade war with China.
“We will ensure that the farmers will get the relief that they need and very, very quickly. It’s a good time to be a farmer, we’re gonna make sure of that,” Trump said Thursday at an announcement ceremony in the Roosevelt Room.
Agriculture is one of the sectors that have been the hardest hit by the conflict with China that has led to both countries imposing tariffs on the other’s goods.
Last year the administration doled out $12 billion in aid to boost farmers.
In the Roosevelt Room, Trump again told the story of how in a previous meeting with American farmers he was told that they didn’t want subsidies. “Just give us a level playing field,” the president said the farmers told him.
“I’m very honored to have done this for you. I don’t consider this a gift at all, it’s not a gift,” Trump said.
China and U.S. seemed close to a major deal earlier in May, but when China tried to renegotiate parts of the deal, Trump reacted by raising tariffs and threatening a whole new set of tariffs against the Asian nation.
China soon announced it would retaliate if the new tariffs go into effect, which White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said could take a number of months.An earlier round of tit-for-tat had Trump putting a 25 percent tariff on $250 billion in Chinese imports, while the Chinese put import taxes on agricultural products like soybeans.
The new cash for farmers, paid through the Commodity Credit Corporation fund, would be paid in three installments, with the first one given to them later this summer. Another payment would come in November and again in January 2020.
Trump’s aid announcement eventually devolved into a name-calling session, as the president went after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, labeling her “crazy” and saying she wasn’t “capable” of understanding the United States-Mexico-Canada trade pact, which he is pressuring Congress to pass.
“If we didn’t have tariffs, we would never have a deal like this,” he said of the deal etched with the U.S.’s two neighbors, as further evidence that his willingness to impose tariffs produces results.
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