Donald Trump Names Fierce China Critic to His New Trade Council

President-elect Donald Trump has named a fierce critic of China, economist Peter Navarro, to lead a newly created White House trade council.

The University of California-Irvine professor, who advised Trump during the campaign, will serve as head of the new White House National Trade Council and as director of trade and industrial policy.

In a statement, the Trump transition team said the creation of the council “demonstrates the president-elect’s determination to make American manufacturing great again.”

Peter Navarro - China Critic

Trump says China’s unfair trade practices are responsible for wiping out American factory jobs and has threatened to impose taxes on Chinese imports. U.S. manufacturers have cut 5 million jobs since 2000.

“The mission of the National Trade Council will be to advise the president 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.

Navarro, a harsh critic of the state of U.S. trade relations with China, advised Trump during a campaign in which he called to renegotiate key trade deals and crack down on Beijing. As a candidate, Trump targeted the Asian giant as a driver of manufacturing job losses in the United States.

The president-elect frequently said he wanted to change the trade balance between the countries, contending that China unfairly devalued its currency to make its exports more competitive. Trump has only ramped up his rhetoric against China since his election, provoking Beijing several times.

During the campaign, Navarro and Trump’s Commerce secretary pick Wilbur Ross advised him on trade. The transition team previously said Ross will lead trade policy in Trump’s administration and it’s unclear if that has changed with the Navarro pick.

The pair offered their views on what Trump administration trade policy should look like in a CNBC column in July. In it, they bashed what they called hollow victories for the United States in World Trade Organization disputes with China.

They highlighted what they deemed “four of the most potent unfair trade practices many of our trade partners routinely engage in — currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, and the use of both sweatshop labor and pollution havens.” They argued that WTO membership did not protect the U.S. from those tactics.

They argued against trade deficits and said the U.S. should be able to renegotiate deals if “gains are not distributed fairly.”

“Besides hurting our workers, chronic trade deficits stifle economic growth while we now owe China and other trading partners trillions in U.S. Treasury debt,” they wrote.

One thought on “Donald Trump Names Fierce China Critic to His New Trade Council

  • December 23, 2016 at 2:13 am
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    People forget that the U.S. used to manufacture everything from bed sheets to bath towels, now you can’t find any of just those two items in any store. You see nothing but Chinese made junk on the shelves which the stores charge high prices for. If anyone thinks that bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. will cause higher prices they have not been paying attention to what the stores like Wal Mart are charging. The high end stores are even worse with their prices since every thing they sell is either from China or another third world country.

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