Trump Gives Farmers $16 Billion in Aid Amid Prolonged China Trade War

The Commerce Department said Monday that it would allow Huawei to continue doing business with American companies for 90 days to prevent disruption to mobile networks that use the company’s equipment. But many companies are quickly announcing plans to exit their relationships with Huawei. In addition to Google, which announced that it would cut off support to Huawei for Android hardware and software services, as well as popular applications like Maps and Gmail, German supplier Infeon announced a similar ban. The benchmark index of American semiconductor stocks fell more than 2 percent in early trading, as investors continued to grapple with Trump administration efforts to restrict sales to Huawei.

[Read more about the fallout in financial markets on Thursday.]

Mr. Trump has been fighting several trade wars at once, wielding tariffs against metals from Europe, Japan, Canada and Mexico as well as goods from China. In response, trading partners have hit back at American farmers, imposing punishing tariffs on everything from peanut butter to soybeans to orange juice.

Over the last week, the Trump administration has moved to resolve or delay trade conflicts on other fronts, to better focus its efforts on Beijing. While Mr. Trump has insisted any pain will be short-lived and worth the price, administration officials have grown concerned that the president could lose the support of farmers, an important political constituency, ahead of the 2020 election. Those worries helped spur Mr. Trump last week to suddenly drop steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, which agreed in turn to withdraw stiff levies on American farm goods.

On Thursday, the administration took another step to help insulate farmers, with the Agriculture Department saying it would provide up to $16 billion in aid to farmers hurt by Chinese trade retaliation. The amount “is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions,” the department said in a statement.

The new program will make $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers, channeled through the Commodity Credit Corporation, a program that helps shore up American farmers by buying their crops. The payments will be made to agricultural producers for a wide range of products, from soybeans and cotton to chickpeas and cherries, in up to three tranches, beginning in late July or early August.

The government will also implement a $1.4 billion program to purchase surplus commodities affected by the trade war and distribute them to food banks, schools and other programs for the poor, as well as put another $100 million toward developing new export markets for American farmers.

The financial support comes after the administration handed out $12 billion in emergency relief for farmers last year, also funded through the Commodity Credit Corporation.