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U.S. Aid Program to use $16 bln to Help Farmers, Expand Markets -USDA's Perdue

WASHINGTON, May 23 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's $16 billion aid program will help American farmers hurt by the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, including efforts to open the door to their products outside of China, the U.S. agriculture secretary said on Thursday.

"Some of this $16 billion is going to be used for market access programs to go and build markets elsewhere," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in an interview on Fox Business Network. "If China's decided not to play, then we'll sell these great products elsewhere."

His comments came ahead of Trump's planned remarks addressing the problems of the nation's farmers, scheduled for 3:15 p.m. EDT (1915 GMT) at the White House.

Perdue cited efforts already underway to boost access for U.S. farm goods in India, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, among other countries, but noted that China was the main player.

"We're having small singles and double hits out here," he told Fox Business. "But obviously the China market is huge. We would hope they would come back to the table."

Purdue added that he hoped Trump's planned meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the upcoming G20 meeting in Japan could help revive negotiations. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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