U.S. President-elect Donal Trump has picked a stringent critic of China to head a newly established White House department focused on trade.
Trump announced this week that Peter Navarro would lead the government’s National Trade Council and serve as director of trade and industrial policy.
A statement issued by the Trump transition team said that Navarro’s council would work with other federal agencies to “assess U.S. manufacturing capabilities and the defense industrial base” and lead the “Buy America, Hire America program to ensure the President-elect’s promise is fulfilled in government procurement and projects ranging from infrastructure to national defense.”
Navarro, who teaches economics at the University of California, Irvine, is the author of “Death by China,” a book strongly critical of the Asian nation.
Trump has reportedly described Navarro as a “visionary economist” and said he would “develop trade policies that shrink our trade deficit, expand our growth and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores,” according to the New York Times.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in August predicted China would return as the U.S.’s largest export market in 2017 for agricultural products, ahead of Canada and Mexico.
Speaking to www.freshfruitportal.com in November, Washington Apple Commission president Todd Fryhover said Trump’s criticism of China was worrisome, given that the Asian country is among the state’s top five export markets and current expectations are for strong future growth.
“We put a lot of focus on China as being one of the solutions to increasing our exports in the future. The current rhetoric the President-elect has expressed on currency manipulation and those things are definitely worrisome and could create opportunities to close markets,” he said.
“But certainly we’re going to keep our head down, we’re going to continue to work hard, focus on that middle to upper-class consumer in China and offer them everything we can, and if things change we’ll have to adjust.
“We hope that things don’t change, but it’s definitely something that we need to take under consideration in the future.”
Trump has also previously threatened to impose tariffs of 45% on Chinese imports into the U.S., but Chinese state-run media Global Times reported the Asian country would respond with a ‘tit for tat’ approach and that trade would effectively be paralyzed.