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'Death by China' economist ascendant as Trump pushes tariffs, hits China

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON 

By and Roberta Rampton

(Reuters) - An who believes that Chinese goods are literally poisoning Americans, advocates ending Washington's "One China" policy and says trade deals have weakened the economically with the connivance of U.S. business, has emerged as the big winner from renewed turmoil in the

While says he is not in the running to replace Trump's top Gary Cohn, who has said he will quit, he will be a big winner from the departure of a person seen as a bulwark against economic protectionism.

Sidelined under Cohn to whom he has reported since late last year, Navarro, who is Trump's trade adviser, would now appear to have free rein. He has publicly backed Trump's and aluminum tariffs in a series of after being out of the public eye for months.

Navarro has endorsed withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement as well as from a trade deal with He believes the allows unfair tax practises like value added tax that penalize American business.

But his main target has been He has backed a 45 percent tariff on imports from to combat what he says is Beijing's policy of illegal export subsidies, currency manipulation, intellectual property theft and lax worker safety and environmental regulations.

He has challenged Washington's "One China" which recognizes and not diplomatically.

"Just as these Chinese leaders have been exploiting American weakness by cheating in the trade arena, they will acknowledge the strength and resoluteness of and rein in their mercantilist impulses," Navarro and now-Commerce wrote in an economic paper for the 2016 election campaign.

said on Wednesday he had demanded action from on trade that appeared to align with Navarro's policies. also chimed in on taking action on China, telling Fox Business Network the would get "reciprocal trade with "

"has been asked to develop a plan for the year of a One Billion Dollar reduction in their massive Trade Deficit with the United States," wrote in a post on on Tuesday, mistakenly referring to a deficit where runs a surplus.

According to official data, ran a trade surplus of $375.2 billion with the in 2017. Overall the U.S. trade deficit with other countries was $566 billion in the year.

said that the issue had been raised with a Chinese delegation last week. Xi Jinping's top held talks with the administration last week. Sanders said that she was not aware of any Chinese response so far.

Navarro, 68, has a doctorate in economics and is a Democrat. He is the of several books highlighting the danger of China's economic and military rise, including "Death by China: Confronting the Dragon - A Global Call to Action".

He has also attacked Germany, saying its companies have benefited unfairly from an undervalued euro. has threatened to impose hefty tariffs on European

Navarro's ire isn't reserved just for other countries. He believes executives have aligned themselves with China's agenda due to their "narrow profit-maximizing interests".

"Indeed, with their bread now being buttered offshore, so-called 'American' organizations like the transformed from staunch critics of Chinese mercantilism into open, and often very aggressive, soldiers in the pro-Lobby," he wrote in "Death by "

"Unscrupulous Chinese entrepreneurs are flooding world markets with a range of bone-crushing, cancer-causing, flammable, poisonous, and otherwise lethal products, foods, and drugs," he also wrote in that book.


Navarro's economic views have been dismissed by most economists as "fringe" and "oddball" although has hailed him as a "visionary". He emerged unheralded as a in 2006 after years writing about regulatory issues as a at the

He and Ross in their campaign paper for calculated that had the been able to eliminate its $500 billion trade deficit in 2015, it would have bolstered the economy by 3.38 percentage points and produced a growth rate of 5.97 percent.

Those calculations were derided as "magical thinking" at the time by many economists, who noted that the trade deficit is determined by the difference between saving and investment, with rising imports caused by less savings and not by "perfidious foreigners and incompetent trade negotiators" as has suggested, a report by the for International Economics said at the time.

says that will emerge as a winner in any trade war as its imports are so large that other countries will be forced to negotiate.

"Our jobs have been stolen from us, our businesses have been taken," told a press conference on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting by Makini Brice, and Steve Holland; Editing by James Dalgleish)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 08 2018. 08:29 IST