WASHINGTON - The United States is providing $16 billion in aid to American farmers who have been hurt by the trade war with China.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Fox Business News on Thursday that most of the funds would go directly to farmers, while smaller amounts would be directed to aid initiatives such as food banks and school lunch programs.
The administration allocated $12 billion in bailout money to farmers last year to offset the costs of President Donald Trump's trade battles with China and other trading partners.
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Perdue did not disclose additional information about the aid package, but said more information would be made available later Thursday. Trump was to address the nation's farmers Thursday afternoon at a White House event.
Trump has placed tariffs on thousands of Chinese products and on foreign steel and aluminum. Countries have retaliated with their own tariffs, particularly on agricultural exports produced in the rural U.S., where Trump enjoys strong political support.
The Trump administration had voiced optimism that an agreement with China was close to being finalized earlier this month, but hopes were dashed when China backed away from previous commitments.
Trump responded by doubling existing punitive tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products and threatened to impose tariffs on goods that had been spared to date.