May 31, 2019 / 4:40 PM / 16 days ago

Smithfield Foods says will not take U.S. farm aid funds

CHICAGO, May 31 (Reuters) - Smithfield Foods, a subsidiary of China’s WH Group, said on Friday it would not take money the U.S. farm aid program designed to offset losses from Washington’s trade war with Beijing.

Nine Democratic senators, including two 2020 presidential hopefuls, published a letter on Wednesday urging the Trump administration to ensure taxpayer-funded trade assistance did not benefit foreign companies.

“Smithfield has not and is not participating in the trade mitigation programs,” spokeswoman Diana Souder said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture terminated a $240,000 purchase contract with Smithfield Foods at the company’s request last year after the agreement was criticized as subsidizing a competitor.

The department announced $16 billion in farm aid last week, including $1.4 billion in food purchases. Last year the government’s $12 billion aid package included $1.2 billion in commodity purchases. JBS USA, the U.S. arm of Brazil’s JBS SA, said it had participated in the program as a U.S.-based company. (Reporting by Tom Polansek; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Richard Chang)

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