WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump says he is "honored" to give U.S. farmers hurt by the trade war with China another $16 billion in aid.
Flanked by potato growers, ranchers and dairymen in the White House, Trump said Thursday the aid "will help keep our cherished farms thriving and make clear that no country has a veto on America's economic and national security."
Trump added that trade has been "very unfair" to the farmers who he says support him politically.
This is the second multibillion-dollar bailout the Trump administration has provided to U.S. farmers who have seen Chinese markets for their products dry up because of tariffs China imposed on U.S. goods to retaliate for U.S. tariffs on Chinese products. The White House gave farmers $12 billion last year.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says farmers should see the first installment of the new $16 billion in aid in July or August. Perdue said he doubts if the United States and China can reach a trade deal by then.
Most of the money will go to farmers who grow and sell such crops as soybeans, corn, peanuts and wheat. Money will also be set aside to buy excess products from the farmers and send them to schools and food banks.
"I can't recall a president more concerned about farmer well-being. We are working hard to assess trade damages and this package ensures farmers will not bear the brunt," Perdue said.
While Trump said Thursday that many farmers told him he is "doing the right thing," some trade experts call the bailout a political ploy and say farmers are more concerned about winning back the lost Chinese market.