Trump selects Peter Navarro, outspoken critic of China’s trade policies, as head of new trade council

Author: China National News

Posted: Thursday December 22nd, 2016


U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump has appointed Peter Navarro, outspoken critic of China’s trade policies, as head of the newly-created White House National Trade Council.

The trade council would advise Trump on “innovative strategies in trade negotiations, coordinate with other agencies to assess U.S. manufacturing capabilities and the defense industrial base, and help match unemployed American workers with new opportunities in the skilled manufacturing sector,” the transition team said in a statement, adding that the trade council would help Donald Trump “make American manufacturing great again.”

“Navarro is a visionary economist and will develop trade policies that shrink our trade deficit, expand our growth, and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores,” the transition team said.

Trump also said he was impressed with Navarro’s clarity on American trade issues.

“I read one of Peter’s books on America’s trade problems years ago and was impressed by the clarity of his arguments and the thoroughness of his research,” the president-elect said.

“He has presciently documented the harms inflicted by globalism on American workers, and laid out a path forward to restore our middle class. He will fulfill an essential role in my administration as a trade adviser.”

Navarro’s appointment could irk China, which is already unhappy over Trump’s phone call with the Taiwan president earlier this month, going against the U.S.’s decades-long acceptance of “one China” policy.

The University of California, Irvine professor, who is the author of books like “Death by China” and “The Coming China Wars”, had written in an op-ed in August, “While my research confirmed cheap labor was a factor driving the Made-in-China boom, I also uncovered the widespread use of sweatshops and pollution havens — neither of which are banned by WTO rules.”

“I also discovered China’s real competitive edge was driven by a set of unfair trade practices — from illegal exports subsidies and currency manipulation to intellectual property theft,” he wrote.

“He’s as hard a hard-liner as they come,” said Patrick Chovanec, managing director and chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management Group. “All you have to do is watch his movie or read his book. China is the nemesis.”

“This is a negative message, and we should be concerned,” said He Weiwen, deputy director of the Beijing-based Center for China and Globalization, and a former business attaché in the Chinese consulates of New York and San Francisco.

“If there’s a trade war breaking out between China and the U.S., both would be affected, but the U.S. side would lose more.”

The 67-year-old economics and public policy professor helped craft Trump’s trade policies during the campaign.

Besides heading the new council, Navarro will also act as presidential adviser and director of trade and industrial policy.

Reacting to the announcement, Navarro said he is “deeply honored for the opportunity to serve the president-elect and this nation and to advise on policies to rebalance our trade, rebuild our industrial base and restore America’s comprehensive national power by making America great again.”

In another appointment to his economic team, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, one of a handful of hedge fund investors who supported Trump’s during his campaign, will serve as a special adviser overseeing regulatory reform.

The transition team said he would not be a government employee and would have no specific duties.

Along with Navarro, his selections could jolt Washington’s approach to trade and regulations.


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