The White House Office of Management and Budget has completed its interagency review of the latest $16 billion market facilitation program payments proposal, according to a post on the OMB website on Monday, https://www.reginfo.gov/….
President Donald Trump's administration announced in May that it was considering another round of payments to farmers in response to a continued trade war with China. The Trump administration announced a $12 billion aid package for farmers on July 24, 2018. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said the support was in line with impact of "illegal retaliatory tariffs" by China.
With no breakthrough in trade talks with China apparent, Trump on May 10, 2019, raised a 10% tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods up to 25%. At the time the president said he was willing to support $15 billion in additional trade-aid payments to farmers. The president also launched action to place additional 25% tariffs on $300 billion more in Chinese goods.
Changes to China's trade-negotiations team recently has created concern that reaching an agreement will be even more difficult.
During a press call on Tuesday, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he's not ready to handicap the chances of an agreement being struck, especially after an agreement seemed imminent in May 2019.
"I'm going to be very careful about being positive about things coming out," Grassley said.
"I'm just going to take it a day at a time. At this point I'm still where I was in May, except for one positive move. I'm not any more positive saying there's a chance that something could get done now that they're talking. Both countries are feeling some pain with what's going on. I think China is being hurt more than we are. Each side is going to benefit from an agreement. The whole world is going to benefit from an agreement."
The tariff battle over the past year has forced U.S. exporters to redirect their focus away from China, which had been the dominant growth market for agricultural exports for more than a decade. In 2017, China imported $23.8 billion in U.S. agricultural products. It was the No. 1 market for soybeans, feed, animal hides and alfalfa; No. 2 in hay; No. 3 in dairy, poultry and pork.
For 2018, agricultural sales to China fell to $9.3 billion, the lowest since 2007.
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com
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