Economist Peter Navarro has been chosen by President-elect Trump to lead a new national trade body. Mr. Navarro has been an outspoken critic of China, and its policies. It is the latest development in a series of incidents which show that Trump is going to reshape the relations between U.S. and China.
In other developments, President-elect said that billionaire Carl Icahn would serve as the special adviser on regulatory issues, that is another important economic policy area Trump is looking to change.
Mr. Navarro, 67, holds a doctorate from Harvard and is a professor at University of California, Irvine, and is the only credentialed economist in Trump’s inner circle. He will head the White House National Trade Council and take the important position as the director of trade and industrial policy.
The educator served as an adviser for Trump during the election campaign. He has written many books including Death by China and The Coming China Wars in which he has been sharply critical of the economic policies taken by China.
The Trump transition team described that the nomination of Mr. Navarro “demonstrates the president-elect’s determination to make American manufacturing great again.”
Mr. Trump described Peter Navarro as a “visionary economist” and said that
He [Mr. Navarro] would develop trade policies that shrink our trade deficit, expand our growth and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores.
Mr. Navarro said that he met Trump after the publication of his first book, and became a senior advisor for Trump’s campaign after a lengthy correspondence. A piece from his recent article published in the San Francisco Chronicle summarizes his view on trade:-
To Trump, while free trade is good, it must also be fair trade. Otherwise, we will get what we have gotten – a massive erosion of the US manufacturing base, stagnant wages for the last 15 years, and more than 20 million Americans who can’t find a good job at a decent wage.
The book “Death by China” was also adapted into a documentary film in 2012. The preamble urges the viewers not to buy “Made in China” products to help defend America.
The film depicts the impact of Chinese industry and shows how many American manufacturing jobs were lost at a time when the Chinese economy was growing.
Other economists fear that aggressive measures by the U.S. could prompt “trade war,” which will have repercussions on both sides.
Trade issue formed the core of Trump’s election campaign issue; he strongly criticized trade deals made with countries like China and Mexico. He said that he would put pressure on Beijing to change its policies by opting a more vigorous approach. He also criticized China in a recent outburst on Twitter in which he accused China of deliberately devaluing its currency to hinder U.S. competition.
The official Chinese media has been critical of Trump’s outspoken social media comments and has also hinted that China will take a heavy-hand once Trump takes office in January.