Trade war update: ‘an unfortunate sound bite’


Peter “Death by China” Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, talked to NPR this morning. He remains unabashed in his China-bashing, although he calls his mission a “trade dispute,” not a “trade war.” The trade war, he says, was lost a long time ago by former presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton.

  • “They run up a $370 billion trade surplus with us, which costs us over a million in factory jobs a year” is still the core of Navarro’s argument.
  • “That was an unfortunate sound bite,” said Navarro of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s comment last week that the trade war with China was “on hold,” because it’s not a war and it’s not on hold.
  • Navarro refused to answer questions about the Trump family receiving favors from the Chinese government such as trademarks, and he refused to comment on Trump’s apparent caving in to China on ZTE, saying that it was a “law enforcement matter.”

Latest trade war twist: China will cut import tariffs “on a range of consumer items, including apparel, cosmetics, home appliances, and fitness products, starting from July 1,” reports Reuters. On the other hand, the South China Morning Post notes that “China’s state media has lashed into a U.S. announcement that it would press ahead with restrictions on investment by Chinese companies, saying Beijing was ready to fight back if Washington was looking to ignite a trade war.”