“Tariffs are not the ultimate answer,” says Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Speaking to the Washington International Trade Association, Perdue told the group tariffs are rather “a tool to get people’s attention” so both teams “play by the same rules.” Politico reports that Perdue recognized retaliation by China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union to Trump’s tariffs was causing pain in farm country, but he tried to frame it in an optimistically. Perdue said he told the President Wednesday when asked how things are in farm country saying, “I can’t lie to you. It’s a little bit like a weight loss program. It’s painful when you’re going through, but we think there’s going to be better days ahead.”
The comments came the day the House Ways and Means committee heard from farmers and ranchers on the harm the ongoing trade war is causing. A current consensus seems to be that agriculture understands trade could be better when the dust settles, but an American Farm Bureau Federation representative says the decisions made now could be costly for farmers and ranchers.