U.S. And China Close to Trade Deal That Would Suspend Planned Tariffs

Dec. 12, 2019, 3:52 p.m. ·

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaks at a news conference in Omaha Thursday morning (Photo by Christina Stella, NET News)

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The U.S. and China are close to a trade agreement that would suspend planned tariffs that would have gone into effect on Sunday.

At a news conference in Omaha before reports of a potential agreement emerged, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said he thinks the trade agreement needs to hold China accountable to whatever terms the two countries settle on.

“We’re looking for a deal that has some enforceability measures that says we agree to that, and we agree to relieve tariffs, then you do what you say you’re going to do,” Perdue said.

Perdue said he believes the U.S. should pursue smaller markets than China.

“We don’t need to be totally dependent on China for that big customer as we once were. That’s why we’re going to those markets like Thailand and Vietnam and Cambodia and the Philippines and Malaysia and Indonesia and India in order to build markets that way. Those people need to eat too,” Perdue said.

Perdue said it’s time the U.S. and China return to a normal trade relationship. It’s believed the tentative deal would be for the first phase of a new trade agreement.