In yet another sign that the incoming administration won’t be so kind to China, US President-elect Donald Trump has appointed Peter Navarro to lead the White House National Trade Council as its director of trade and industrial policy.
An UC Irvine professor, Navarro is perhaps the world’s most visible China “hawk.” He has written 13 books with titles like “Death by China: Confronting the Dragon – A Global Call to Action,” “Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World,” and “The Coming China Wars: Where They Will Be Fought, How They Can Be Won,” arguing for the United States to take a harder line approach on China in the face of manufacturing job losses and increasing Chinese militarism in the South China Sea.
During the campaign, Navarro was one of Trump’s top economic advisers as the candidate made trade his core platform. Trump repeatedly promised to renegotiate better trade deals with countries and took the chance to bash China whenever possible for currency manipulation, high tariffs and just generally “raping” the US.
Since his stunning electoral college victory, Trump has only ramped up his hard-line rhetoric candidate against China. Talking on the phone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and even going so far as to question the “one China” policy as an apparent method to gain leverage in future trade negotiations.
In case you’ve never heard of the “White House National Trade Council,” that’s probably because it’s an all new institution created by Trump. As director of trade and industrial policy, Navarro will work on creating trade policies that “shrink our trade deficit, expand our growth and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores,” according to a statement from Trump’s transition team.
Considering his convictions, many believe that Navarro may also help to bring on a trade war with China. Following the announcement yesterday, the new appointment was promptly picked apart on Twitter.
Peter Navarro as head of National Trade Council !!
— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) December 21, 2016
Does his official title really include the words "Industrial Policy"?
Wow. Republican President, LOL. https://t.co/2TsyH02Qol
— Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) December 21, 2016
@prchovanec We need an industrial plan. Maybe a five-year plan or something like that.
— Olaf Alex (@olaf_alex) December 21, 2016
“I read one of Peter’s books on America’s trade problems years ago and was impressed” Mr Trump said"
Fact check: no fucking way
— modest proposal (@modestproposal1) December 21, 2016
— Judah (@Judahe) December 22, 2016
— Isaac Stone Fish (@isaacstonefish) December 21, 2016
Peter Navarro, named today by Trump to head a new trade council, in 2008 on how CEOs aren't doing enough to prepare for a Chinese trade war pic.twitter.com/QXY27w7axP
— Nick Timiraos (@NickTimiraos) December 21, 2016
“Death by China” was later adapted into a documentary film narrated by Martin Sheen during Trump’s campaign. Navarro served as both the writer and director of the documentary. Before it begins, he speaks to viewers about how they must “help defend America and protect your family – don’t buy ‘Made in China.'”