A Bloomberg report says that American and Chinese officials have both indicated a willingness to find a negotiated solution to their trade differences. Top government officials are expected to hold talks before American tariffs on Chinese imports will take effect. White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro tells CNBC that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead the talks. White House officials have indicated previously that they were willing to negotiate with China, but the Bloomberg report says this is the first indication that talks would take place at the highest levels of government.
Navarro says discussions will focus on getting to someplace “where China stops doing what it’s doing in terms of aggressive attacks on our economy.” He didn’t provide more specific details to CNBC about the timing or locations for future talks between the two countries. Larry Kudlow, head of the White House National Economic Council, says America is trying to rally pro-market countries to push back against China’s unfair trade practices. Kudlow says the administration will have more to say about its effort to recruit other major economies to support the U.S. position.
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says a potential trade dispute with China could have negative consequences on the new Farm Bill Congress is currently working on. Politico says Congress may need to factor in possible trade disruptions while working on the new legislation. China announced that dozens of U.S. farm products, including soybeans and beef, could potentially face a 25 percent tariff if the U.S. follows through on its threat to put a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods. The goal of the Trump administration is to force China to change its intellectual property practices.
Perdue said Congress may have to draw up a farm bill designed to help producers in case the dispute gets worse. He didn’t go into great detail about what he thought Congress would need to add to the farm bill. Senate Ag Chair Pat Roberts said last month that a special payment because of a trade dispute would complicate an already tough funding situation. USDA does have broad authority to distribute emergency funding to stabilize the agricultural economy if it becomes necessary.