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Trump picks 'Death by China' author for trade advisory role

Peter Navarro became a top adviser during President-elect Trump’s campaign. Photo: Bloomberg News

Donald Trump has selected China-hawk Peter Navarro to lead the White House National Trade Council, the president-elect’s transition team announced Wednesday.

Navarro, 67, is a professor at University of California, Irvine, and advised Trump during the campaign. He has authored several books including "Death by China: How America Lost its Manufacturing Base," which was made into a documentary film describing China's threat to the U.S. economy as well as Beijing's desire to become the dominant economic and military power in Asia..

“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,” President-elect Trump said in a 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,” he added.

However, few other economists have endorsed Navarro's ideas.

Marcus Noland, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, likened a tax and trade paper authored by Navarro and Wilbur Ross, who has been named as Trump's commerce secretary, to "the type of magical thinking best reserved for fictional realities" for what he said was its flawed economic analysis.

Navarro has also suggested a stepped-up engagement with Taiwan, including assistance with a submarine development program.

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."

After his Nov. 8 election win, Trump stoked China's ire when he took a telephone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in a break with decades of precedent that cast doubt on his incoming administration's commitment to Beijing's "one China" policy.

China's foreign minister Wang Yi said in an interview carried on Thursday that China-U.S. relations face new uncertainties but with mutual respect for core interests they will remain stable.

"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," Wang said.


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