US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Wednesday that negotiations are the preferred method for easing trade tensions between China and the United States.
“Our first goal is to negotiate ourselves out of the saber rattling that has occurred and to make sure that these market disruptions do not have a permanent impact,” Perdue said at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Reuters reports.
If negotiations fail, Perdue said he will deploy funds authorized by the recently passed US$1.3 billion spending bill to mitigate pain to American farmers caused by a trade dispute, but he did not specify which programs would be used.
Perdue admitted that he would not have used the same negotiating style as President Donald Trump, who threatened to impose US$100 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports after Beijing announced plans to slap tariffs on 106 US goods including soybeans.
He added that he was pleased that Chinese President Xi Jinping was showing some willingness to be flexible.
Xi on Tuesday promised to open the country’s economy further and lower import tariffs on some products in a speech seen as conciliatory amid rising US-China trade tensions.
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