China-owned pork producer to get tariff-related bailouts
By Jeff Stein | Washington Post
WASHINGTON – A Chinese-owned pork producer will sell at least $240,000 worth of ham products to the federal government as part of the Trump administration’s farm bailout program, the administration said Wednesday.
U.S. pork producer Smithfield, which is owned by the Chinese conglomerate WH Group, will sell 144,000 pounds of ham products to the federal government under the contract.
The Agriculture Department is purchasing pork and other commodities from U.S. farmers to help offset the damage from retaliatory tariffs imposed by China this summer. The administration has pitched the relief as a necessary short-term measure to help farmers weather the trade battle.
The Agriculture Department announced about $7.5 million worth of awards under the purchase program on Wednesday, according to a notice released by the department’s Agricultural Marketing Service, which is administering the purchase program. Smithfield could receive more taxpayer money in subsequent rounds of the purchasing program.
The agency said in August that it would buy $1.2 billion of products from farmers, including more than $500 million from pork producers, but the exact timing of those purchases has not been released. The Trump administration has authorized $12 billion in overall spending for the bailout program, including direct cash payments to farmers, particularly soybean producers.
The Agriculture Department said last month that Smithfield qualified for the bailout money, noting that the agency would be purchasing only goods produced in the United States. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a farmer and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has expressed alarm that a Chinese-owned firm could benefit from bailout money intended to help American farmers survive a trade war with China.
The awards were made public the day after the midterm elections, timing that some watchdog groups said was no coincidence.
“It is highly suspicious that this announcement came a day after the midterm elections,” …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Politics