The Trump administration on Thursday announced a new US$16 billion (NZ$24.5 billion) farm aid package to offset losses from the U.S. trade war with China.
In a conference call with reporters, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said US$14.5 billion of the US$16 billion would be paid directly to producers, who have been hit hard by Trump's tariff showdowns with China, Mexico and other countries. An additional US$1.4 billion will be used to purchase food for food banks and schools.
"This package ensures farmers will not bear the brunt" of the trade wars, Perdue said.
After Trump applied tariffs of 25 per cent on US$250 billion of Chinese imports, Beijing had retaliated with import taxes on US agricultural commodities such as soybeans, badly hurting US producers.
The aid package is the second bailout for farmers after the Trump administration promised US$12 billion in emergency measures last July.
Perdue acknowledged that US farmers have been hit hard by the escalating trade fight with Beijing.
"President Trump knew farmers would bear the brunt of the lack of a trade deal with China," the agriculture secretary said on the call. "Our farmers will bear the brunt disproportionately."
Trump was scheduled to meet farm groups at the White House at an afternoon event Thursday.
- Washington Post