Trump Taps China Hawk to Head Trade Council

By Eric Beech Economic Indicators Reuters

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a USA Thank You Tour event in Orlando, Florida, U.S., December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (Copyright Reuters 2016)

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday named Peter Navarro, an economist who has urged a hard line on China, to head a newly formed White House National Trade Council, the transition team said in a statement.

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"The formation of the National Trade Council further demonstrates the President-elect's determination to make American manufacturing great again and to provide every American the opportunity to work in a decent job at a decent wage," the statement said.

Trump made trade a centerpiece of his presidential campaign and railed against what he said were bad deals the United States has made with other countries.

The president-elect, who takes office on Jan. 20, has also threatened to hit Chinese imports with high tariffs and angered Beijing by questioning Washington's longstanding "one China" policy.

Navarro, who advised Trump during the campaign, has authored several books including "Death by China: How America Lost its Manufacturing Base," which was made into a documentary film.

Navarro, a professor at University of California, Irvine, has suggested stepped up engagement with Taiwan, including assistance with a submarine development program.

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He argued that Washington should stop referring to the "one China" policy, but stopped short of suggesting it should recognize Taipei, saying "there is no need to unnecessarily poke the Panda."

"I read one of Peter's books on America's trade problems years ago and was impressed by the clarity of his arguments and thoroughness of his research," Trump said in the statement.

"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 advisor," Trump said.

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