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USDA Will Defend Trade Aid at WTO

China, India, the European Union, Ukraine, and Australia have all fired off criticism to the World Trade Organization at the USDA’s two aid packages for farmers that could total up to $28 billion.

However, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says he’s not concerned that the payments will be a problem. “We had to design a program very carefully to make sure we do not violate the WTO limit,” he said to reporters in Washington. “We feel like we’re safely within those confines and we’re prepared to defend that should anyone challenge it.”

Australia called the aid, designed to counteract retaliatory tariffs implemented on U.S. farm goods, a “dangerous precedent” that could distort world markets.

An Agri-Pulse report says several member countries in the WTO are fearful that the U.S. will give its farmers a third trade assistance package next year, which Perdue says he won’t rule out.