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Final Round of Payments to Help Farmers Harmed by Retaliatory Tariffs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a second and final round of financial aid for farmers negatively affected by retaliatory tariffs. The latest authorisation includes US$4.9 billion in additional direct payments through the USDA Market Facilitation Program for producers of corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, cotton, almonds, fresh sweet cherries, dairy and pork. The amount per producer is subject to certain limits and eligibility requirements.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue indicated in a statement that “the President reaffirmed his support for American farmers and ranchers and made good on his promise, authorizing the second round of payments to be made in short order.” While Perdue noted that “there have been positive movements on the trade front,” he acknowledged that American farmers “are continuing to experience losses due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.” The assistance is therefore aimed at helping “with short-term cash flow issues as we move into the new year.”

The second batch of payments, which will stay at the same rate as the first batch, will apply to the second half of 2018 production, according to the USDA. While the USDA website repeats that the payments are “aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations,” Perdue has said that no more trade-related payments are planned for 2019.

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