Last Monday, US president Trump said that his administration was planning to provide about $15 billion in aid to help US farmers whose products may be targeted with tariffs by China in a deepening trade war.
“We’re going to take the highest year, the biggest purchase that China has ever made with our farmers, which is about $15 billion, and do something reciprocal to our farmers so our farmers can do well,” Trump told reporters at the White House. He did not provide more details on what kind of an aid package it would be.
American farmers, a key constituency of Trump, have been among the hardest hit in the trade war. Soybeans are the most valuable US farm export, and shipments to China dropped to a 16-year low in 2018. Sales of US soybeans elsewhere failed to make up for the loss. US soybean futures fell to their lowest in a decade on Monday.
US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Friday that Trump had asked him to create a plan to help American farmers cope with the heavy impact of the US-China trade war on agriculture.
A new aid program would be the second round of assistance for farmers, after the Department of Agriculture’s $12 billion plan last year to compensate for lower prices for farm goods and lost sales stemming from trade disputes with China and other nations.