Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest (Washington, D.C., May 23, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation and trade disruption. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy to support American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. Specifically, the President has authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. These programs will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.“China hasn’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property. President Trump has great affection for America’s farmers and ranchers, and he knows they are bearing the brunt of these trade disputes. In fact, I’ve never known of a president that has been more concerned or interested in farmer wellbeing and long-term profitability than President Trump,” said Secretary Perdue. “The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners. Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them.”Listen to Secretary Perdue’s comments about the announcement:Background:American farmers have dealt with unjustified retaliatory tariffs and years of non-tariff trade disruptions, which have curtailed U.S. exports to China. Trade damages from such retaliation and market distortions have impacted a host of U.S. commodities, including crops like soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton, rice, and sorghum; livestock products like milk and pork; and many fruits, nuts, and other crops. High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets. Additionally, American goods shipped to China have been slowed from reaching market by unusually strict or cumbersome entry procedures, which affect the quality and marketability of perishable crops. These boost marketing costs and unfairly affect our producers. USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers:Market Facilitation Program (MFP) for 2019, authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers.Producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, upland cotton, and wheat will receive a payment based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to those crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and therefore will not distort planting decisions. Moreover, total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings.Dairy producers will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history and hog producers will receive a payment based on hog and pig inventory for a later-specified time frame.Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers, and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production.These payments will help farmers to absorb some of the additional costs of managing disrupted markets, to deal with surplus commodities, and to expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.Payments will be made in up to three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. The first tranche will begin in late July/early August as soon as practical after Farm Service Agency crop reporting is completed by July 15th. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January.Additionally, CCC Charter Act authority will be used to implement a $1.4 billion Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP) through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and milk for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to food banks, schools, and other outlets serving low-income individuals.Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for $100 million to be issued through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) to assist in developing new export markets on behalf of producers.Further details regarding eligibility and payment rates will be released at a later date.#USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. He added: “It was extraordinary to see it all, and the most amazing moment came when I was going along the side of the Titanic and the bright lights of the submersible reflected off a portal and came right back – it was like the ship was winking at me.”It was amazing.”A total of five dives to the wreck, which lies around 370 miles south of Newfoundland in Canada, were made over eight days using a submergence vehicle.The Titanic, built by Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard, sank after hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,500 people. “The captain’s bath tub is a favourite image among the Titanic enthusiasts, and that’s now gone.”Scientist Lori Johnson raised fears that the wreck could be lost forever, saying: “The future of the wreck is going to continue to deteriorate over time, it’s a natural process. The wreck of the Titanic could be lost forever, say scientists, after the first dive expedition in 14 years showed key parts had been washed away.Explorers making the first manned voyage to the Titanic wreckage in more than a decade said they had uncovered a partial collapse of the ship’s hull and that the Captain’s quarters had also deteriorated heavily.Nearly 13,125ft (4,000m) beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, in water at a bitterly cold one degree, salt corrosion and metal-eating bacteria have worn away parts of the liner’s structure.The team of divers found that the hull near the officers’ quarters on the starboard side of the ship has started to collapse, taking with it the vessel’s luxurious stateroom accommodation, according to exploration company Caladan Oceanic.Titanic historian Park Stephenson said the deterioration of the ship was “shocking”, adding: “That whole deck hole on that side is collapsing, taking with it the staterooms, and the deterioration is going to continue advancing. “These are natural types of bacteria, so the reason that the deterioration process ends up being quite a bit faster, is a group of bacteria, a community working symbiotically to eat, if you will the Iron and the sulphur.”The first ever 4K quality images of the ship were captured during the expedition and will be published alongside a documentary, which is being made by film company Atlantic Productions.The footage will also make it possible to view the wreckage using interactive augmented reality and virtual reality technology.Explorer Victor Vescovo, who is also chief executive of Caladan Oceanic, said he “wasn’t quite prepared” for how large the wreckage is. Titanic historian Park Stephenson said the deterioration of the ship is ‘shocking’Credit:Atlantic Productions / PA The glass portholes are still in good conditionCredit:Atlantic Productions/PA
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She reaffirmed the long-standing facet of U.S. foreign policy: that the United States is – and will continue to be – an Indo-Pacific power. “We are also expanding our navy-to-navy relationship with Sri Lanka, with our first-ever naval exercise set for October,” she said. “Already, American companies operate across the region, supplying everything from bottled drinks to airplane parts. In India alone, over 600 American companies have contributed to a 500 percent increase in FDI over the past two years. We are partnering with South Asian countries to develop legal and regulatory regimes that encourage transparent FDI, build resilient energy infrastructure, and connect budding entrepreneurs with the resources they need to develop their ideas. As President Trump and Prime Minister Modi underscored during their June summit, both India and the United States are committed to bolstering regional economic connectivity through transparent infrastructure development and responsible debt financing practices,” she added.She also commended the progress in BIMSTEC and hopes agreements on electricity grid connectivity and transport can be finalized before the next BIMSTEC Summit.“While the region offers unprecedented opportunity, it is also confronting a myriad of security challenges, including terrorism, transnational crime, trafficking-in-persons, and illicit drugs,” she added. “For more than seven decades, we have embraced the responsibilities this distinction requires across this vast expanse, from the shores of East Africa to the western coast of the Americas. This will not change in the decades to come,” she added.Wells said if South and Southeast Asia reduced non-tariff barriers by 50 percent – an ambitious but attainable goal – increased intra-region trade would net $568 billion in increased GDP by 2030. The United States says it hopes to expand the navy-to-navy relationship with Sri Lanka.US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G. Wells told delegates at the Indo-Pacific Regional Architecture Indian Ocean Conference 2017 in Colombo today that Sri Lanka and the US will hold the first-ever naval exercise in October. Wells noted that to combat these challenges, the United States has sought to improve intelligence-sharing among regional partners and improve capacity-building in areas like community policing, counter-narcotics, aviation security, and forensics analysis. (Colombo Gazette)