Trump expected to announce help for farmers hard hit by tariffs

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The Trump administration, which has been talking about providing emergency aid to the agriculture industry, could offer upward of $12 billion in help to calm rising concerns about the trade war that could hit U.S. farmers hardest, Politico first reported.

Farmers have found themselves caught in the middle of Trump’s tit-for-tat tariffs as the president escalates a global trade war.

Agriculture groups and lawmakers have been calling on his administration to stop imposing the tariffs because their products – from pork to soybeans – are being targeted for retaliation by top U.S. trading partners.

Trump has levied tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, which brought retaliatory duties from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, among others.

The White House also has slapped tariffs of 25 percent on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. China quickly responded with an equal batch of duties.

So far, $34 billion in tariffs have gone into effect with another $16 billion in the pipeline.

Dozens of U.S. businesses are asking the president to forego that next batch of tariffs in hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The Trump administration is expected to dip into two commodity support programs that are included in the farm bill to aid the agriculture industry.

The Agriculture Department also has broad authority to step in and provide stability to farmers hit by the duties.

The White House has been hinting for months that it was looking for a way to help farmers who would be hit by retaliatory tariffs.

But Ross said at the time that he didn’t have any details.

Farmers have argued they don’t want a government bailout, they want access to global markets that buy their exports.

–This report was updated at 12:00 p.m.