[7/27/19] Aid for Cherry Growers

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced details yesterday of a $16 billion package aimed at supporting American agriculture producers affected by retaliatory tariffs by China. The Market Facilitation Program, which provides direct payments and financial relief to producers, included aid for Northwest cherry growers. The provision was secured by Representative Dan Newhouse and Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington. Newhouse said Central Washington farmers have been patient as the Trump Administration negotiates a fair and reciprocal trade agreement with China, but local cherry producers have felt the real effects of the retaliatory tariffs. This is the second trade aid package from the Trump Administration, but the package from August last year did not include sweet cherries. China is the number one export market for Washington state sweet cherries and cherry sales to China dropped from 3.2 million cartons in 2017 to 1.6 million cartons in 2018. Some estimate that tariffs could cost Washington state cherry growers between $60-80 million in lost profits.