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Source: By Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as it ran in USA Today

In the Olympics, if opposing athletes continuously broke the rules while the officials let them get away with it, American fans would want our coaches to raise a fuss. That's what has been happening in the arena of international trade, and President Donald Trump is rightly calling out our competitors for unfair play.

In response, we have been slapped with unjust retaliatory tariffs, aimed disproportionately at American farmers. President Trump has pledged to stand by American farmers, and the Department of Agriculture is helping to fulfill that promise. We will aid our producers in mitigating trade damages caused by retaliation, which is a short-term solution to give the president time to work on trade deals to benefit agriculture and all sectors of the American economy in the long run. President Trump is taking action on trade policy to open markets so American farmers can compete globally.

Instead of retaliatory tariffs, the correct Chinese response would be to stop their bad behavior. The Trump administration's action to stand by our agricultural producers is a clear message that China cannot bully farmers to coerce the United States to cave in.

USDA will be authorizing up to $12 billion in programs, which is directly in line with the estimated impact of the unjustified tariffs on agriculture. These programs, in addition to our existing farm support programs, will help farmers meet the costs of disrupted markets resulting from unjustified retaliation.

The assistance may come in three forms: incremental payments to producers impacted by the retaliatory tariffs, purchase and distribution of commodities to food banks and other nutrition programs, and trade promotion, in conjunction with the private sector, to develop new export markets.

There is no question that farmers prefer free trade over government aid. What we are seeking is a level playing field, where our agricultural home team will always be the best competitors and have the best chance to succeed on the world market.

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