April 6, 2018 / 2:47 AM / 13 days ago

USDA looking for ways to protect farmers in China trade dispute: USDA official

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is looking to find ways to shield farmers from the growing trade conflict between the United States and China, a department official said Thursday evening, without providing details of options under review.

“There’s a lot of different options out there” to protect farmers, said USDA Farm Production And Conservation Under Secretary Bill Northey, speaking to Reuters after a commodity conference in Kansas.

Northey was speaking after President Donald Trump ordered officials to come up with an additional round of tariffs directed at China.

China responded to an initial U.S. salvo by targeting numerous goods, including agricultural staples like soybeans, the most valuable U.S. agricultural export to China.

Northey says the USDA needs to “see the reaction of what tariffs will be and what the reaction of markets are”.

In terms of how the Trump Administration could shield farmers, Northey said there were no specific proposals yet, but “there certainly are discussions”.

Reporting by Tom Polansek; writing by David Gaffen; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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