Kenneth Quinn, president of World Food Prize Foundation, addresses the U.S.-China Think Tank Symposium in Des Moines, the United States, on June 12, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ping)
The United States and China should resolve their differences in bilateral trade through dialogue since a trade war between the world's top two economies would be "destructive," a former U.S. diplomat said on Monday.
"The (bilateral) trading relationship is so important, so vital for the farmers, the business people, the farmers organizations ... not only in Iowa, but in every state (of the United States), so it's in no one's interest to have a trade war," Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, said in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the U.S.-China Think Tank Symposium held in Des Moines, Iowa.
The symposium, jointly sponsored by the World Food Prize Foundation, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, brought together about 20 Chinese and U.S. experts and scholars to discuss enhancing bilateral trade ties.
"Here (Iowa) where the trade that starts the whole economy, it's (the trade war's) destructive," said Quinn, who assumed his current post in 2000 following his retirement from the U.S. State Department after a 32-year career in the Foreign Service.
"Farm prices are low now. If there is a trade war, the prices will further go down," Quinn said.
Iowa, a major agricultural state in the U.S. midwest, ranked the second in soybean production among U.S. states last year, and it exports 60 percent of its soybeans, mainly to China.
"I am very optimistic we won't have a trade war," Quinn said, adding that the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump in Florida in April is "a step in right direction."
The 100-day action plan resulted from the meeting is a "good idea" designed to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries, he said.
"We have to understand we won't make huge leap forward or make great steps in just 100 days. However, we are spurring things into action. There are certainly real efforts being made in China, to form tiny steps that could lead to a deal to treat trade imbalance. This is a positive thing," Quinn said.
Last month, the Chinese and U.S. sides announced the initial results of the 100-day action plan, covering agriculture, financial services, investment and energy.