Washington, D.C.—President Trump unveiled a $16 billion bailout for farmers, according to the NY Times, signaling that the trade war is here to stay. The amount, according to a statement from the Agriculture Department, “is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions.”
Mr. Trump, the Times reports, said that China has “taken advantage” of the United States for too long, and vowed to protect an industry that has been “used as a vehicle” by China to hurt America’s economy.
The Times quoted James Mintert, director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture, as saying: “Farmers are becoming increasingly anxious over their future financial performance.” Mintert was the principal investigator in a survey of 400 American farmers, which found that sentiment plunged in April, thanks to concerns about tensions with China. 74% of those surveyed said that now was a “bad time” for big investments.
In response, the Times says, Mr. Trump dropped steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, which agreed to withdraw levies on farm goods.
The new program, the Times says, will channel $14.5 billion through the Commodity Credit Corporation, a program that helps shore up American farmers by buying their products. It will begin in late July or early August. $1.4 billion will be used to purchase surplus commodities and distribute them to food banks, schools and other programs for the poor. $100 million will go to developing new export markets for American farmers.