Wednesday, October 10, 2018

U.S. farmers may get less aid than first estimated if trade agreement with Mexico and Canada mitigates losses

Farmers hurt by the trade war with China could get less than the U.S. Department of Agriculture's promised $12 billion because of the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico that replaces the North
American Free Trade Agreement, Humeyra Pamuk reports for Reuters.

USDA announced in August that the first $6 billion would include cash payments to farmers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs. Regarding the second $6 billion installment, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Reuters the department will be "recalculating along as we go" because the new agreement might lessen the financial pain felt by some farmers.

Pamuk notes, "American farmers have yet to see the full benefit of the new accord as an ongoing dispute over steel and aluminum tariffs mean they still face retaliatory measures when trading with Canada and Mexico. That agreement also does not address the harm as a result of the trade war."

Perdue told Reuters that the steel and aluminum tariffs were "instrumental" in pressuring Canada to negotiate the deal, but now that it has been signed, the tariffs' purpose has been served and he believes the three countries should return to a no-tariff policy on steel and aluminum.

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