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Trump signals he's prepared to give farmers more federal aid

SeattlePI.com Friday, 21 February 2020
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signaled Friday that he’s prepared to tap federal coffers again to help farmers suffering from the tariff fights that he initiated.

The Trump administration over the past two years has committed to providing farmers with $27 billion in assistance. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has said that a third year of financial assistance would not be necessary since China had committed to increasing its agriculture purchases under a Phase 1 trade deal.

But China’s economy is being rocked by the new virus that has infected more than 75,000 people and forced many businesses and factories to temporarily close. Administration officials have floated the possibility in recent weeks that the new coronavirus may delay some of the anticipated purchases by China. Meanwhile, data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts shows an uptick in farm bankruptcies last year, 595, versus 498 the year before.

Typing in all capital letters, Trump tweeted that if “our formally targeted farmers need additional aid until such times as the trade deals with China, Mexico, Canada and others fully kick in, that aid will be provided by the federal government, paid for out of the massive tariff money coming into the USA!.”

Trump's claim that tariff money is coming into the U.S. is inaccurate. Tariffs are paid by American companies, which usually pass the cost on to consumers through higher prices.

Trump’s comments come after the Washington Post reported that the Department of Agriculture’s chief economist, Robert Johansson, projected that agricultural exports to China would reach roughly $14 billion in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, only a $4 billion increase from one year ago. The Wall Street Journal also reported Perdue’s comments that his department isn’t planning for another...
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News video: Trump: U.S. may give farmers more aid until trade deals 'kick in'

Trump: U.S. may give farmers more aid until trade deals 'kick in' 01:45

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday composed a tweet entirely in capital letters pledging to further help American farmers, even after his USDA secretary said the sector should not count on a bailout in 2020. This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

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