The next round of Market Facilitation Program payments will soon be going out. Washington Correspondent Jim Wiesemeyer is reporting the $16 billion in trade aid has gained approval from the Office of Management and Budget. The payments are expected to start next month.
Meanwhile, work continues to try and get a trade deal with China. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier this week there's a good chance he and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will make a trip to China. The two U.S. negotiators are holding another call with their Chinese counterparts this week and may travel to Beijing if those phone conversations yield progress.
President Trump commented again on the situation with China during the third annual "Made in America Product Showcase", and on the trade aid payments to farmers. The President said, "I haven't had one farmer say 'please make a fast deal, sir. Please make a fast deal'. The biggest beneficiaries will be the farmers, but the $16 billion that wasn't spent, we're putting back into the farm and ag system, and the farmers are thrilled, I must tell you that." He went on to say, "We're gonna have good relationships with China. President Xi is a friend of mine, a good friend of mine. I used to say he's a good friend of mine, probably not quite as close now, but I have to be for our country. He's for China, and I'm for the USA and that's the way it's gonna be".
The U.S. is also still waiting for China to make significant purchases of U.S. farm products that President Trump talked about in a tweet earlier this month. The President's top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, implied to reporters those ag purchases are a necessary step for trade talks to advance. Kudlow added, "We expect China to be announcing shortly some large-scale purchases of farm goods and services".