Trump picks hawkish China critic to lead US trade body | News | DW | 22.12.2016
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Trump picks hawkish China critic to lead US trade body

Peter Navarro will spearhead US trade and industrial policy Donald Trump's administration. He has long been a vocal critic of China, having accused it of waging an economic war on the United States.

USA Peter Navarro Professor Universität von Kalifornien (Imago/Zumapress)

Trump has described Navarro as "a visionary economist" who will "stop the exodus of jobs from our shores."

Having already rattled relations with China ahead of assuming office in January, US President-elect Donald Trump once again heightened tensions late on Wednesday by appointing outspoken China critic Peter Navarro to lead the US National Trade Council.

A professor at the University of California, Irvine, Navarro has been a sharp critic of China's economic and foreign policy. He has published a number of books critical of China and released a documentary in which he accuses China of subsidizing its manufacturing industry as part of its economic war on the United States. His best-known book is entitled "Death by China: How America Lost its Manufacturing Base."

Navarro also served as a special advisor during Trump's presidential campaign.

Now, in leading the White House's newly created National Trade Council, Navarro will effectively be leading US trade and industrial policy.

In a statement announcing the appointment, Trump described Navarro as a "visionary" economist who would "develop trade policies that shrink our trade deficit, expand our growth, and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores."

"Bad deals"

Trump centered much of his campaign on trade and rallied supporters around his pledge to tear up what he defined as "bad deal" for the US. The president-elect also vowed to introduce high tariffs on goods imported from China and Mexico in a bid to make US-made goods more competitive in the domestic market.

In a November opinion piece for "Foreign Policy" magazine, Navarro, along with fellow Trump advisor Alexander Grey, echoed the president-elect's anti-trade stand writing, "Trump will never again sacrifice the US economy on the altar of foreign policy by entering into bad trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement, allowing China into the World Trade Organization, and passing the proposed [Transpacific Partnership]."

Reshaping relations?

China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, told the Communist Party's official newspaper on Thursday that Trump's election had raised new uncertainties in US-China relations, but said that mutual respect for each country's core interest would keep those relations stable.

Wang said, "Only if China and the United States respect each other and give consideration to other's core interests and key concerns can there be long-term, stable cooperation, and effect win-win mutual benefit."

Trump has already stoked China's ire shortly after being elected by taking a telephone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. The call broke decades of protocol that had not seen a US president or president-elect cast doubt over Beijing's "one China" policy.

China views Taiwan as a renegade province. Any acknowledgment that it has its own head of state is considered a grave diplomatic insult.

Trump has said he does not feel bound by such a policy.

dm/sms (AP, AFP)

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