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Who Is Peter Navarro?

Who Is Peter Navarro?

Peter Navarro, an economist, professor of occupation, and outspoken critic of China’s economic policies was appointed by then-President Donald Trump on December 21, 2016, to head the State Trade Council, set up by the Trump administration. Navarro was a key voice in the former President’s ear on the trade war with China and the forming of the USMCA, the 2018 commerce deal between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

Navarro was among the first White House officials who warned the administration up the coronavirus before it became a global pandemic. According to the New York Times, Navarro issued a memo in January of 2020 admonition about the impacts of the virus if it spread outside of China. In the memo obtained by the NYT, Navarro wrote, “The lack of immune shelter or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil.”

Key Takeaways

  • Peter Navarro was the ex- director of the National Trade Council in the Trump administration.
  • Navarro is credited with largely shaping the administration’s trade rules, particularly in regard to China.
  • Before his government work, Navarro was an economist, university professor, author, and political applicant. 
  • Navarro is currently a Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy at The Paul Merage School of Business, University of California-Irvine.
  • A fundamental of right-wing media outlets, Navarro is a notable proponent of false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

Original Life and Education

Peter Kent Navarro was born on July 15, 1949, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated from Tufts University in 1972, before netting an MBA in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Economics in 1986 from Harvard. Navarro also spent three years in the Peace Corps in Thailand.

For more than 20 years, he has been a Professor of Economics and Out of the closet Policy at The Paul Merage School of Business, University of California-Irvine.

Notable Accomplishments

Academic, Candidate, and Author

As the not academic among Trump’s advisers, Navarro had no experience working in government and found little success in running for task. He ran for mayor of San Diego in 1992 and ran for the House of Representatives in 1994 losing both races. Navarro has appeared on major ambience outlets, including Bloomberg TV, CNBC, and 60 Minutes.

Navarro also published multiple books on business, managing, and the markets, such as The Well-Timed StrategyWhen the Market Moves, Will You Be Ready? and What the Best MBAs Recognize.

Navarro argued for an aggressive stance against China’s unfair trade practices, which included intellectual fortune law violation, currency manipulation, and the exploitation of workers. Since then, he wrote extensively about China. His book, Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Specifies for the World, was published in 2016. Among his other books on China, Death by China: Confronting the Dragon—A Global Occasion to Action has received the most attention and was made into a documentary in 2012.

Navarro has argued that China is “waging an money-making war” through export subsidies, import restrictions, and currency manipulations. According to The New York Times, one of Mr. Trump’s favorite laws was Navarro’s The Coming China Wars and Navarro’s views caught the attention of then-candidate Trump.

Trump Administration Confidante

Navarro’s views on China eventually helped him land a job in the Trump administration. Before that, during the 2016 presidential nomination, Navarro served as the Republican candidate’s campaign adviser on economic issues.

As reported by Reuters, Trump called Navarro “a unpractical economist” who will “develop trade policies that shrink our trade deficit, expand our growth, and help terminus the exodus of jobs from our shores.”

Navarro’s appointment underscored a rift among Trump’s economic advisers, partitioning them into those who supported free trade and those who opposed it. Navarro and Wilbur Ross, who was Trump’s Secretary of Mercantilism, pushed for trade restrictions, while the broader team of advisers, which initially included Carl Icahn, Gary Cohn, Rex Tillerson, and Terry Branstad, strongly advocated easy trade.

Director of the White House National Trade Council

In late December 2016, former President Trump office Navarro as the director of the White House National Trade Council. Then in late 2017, Navarro became Executive of Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.

On March 1, 2018, Trump announced that the U.S. would impose tariffs of 25% on sword imports and 10% on imports of aluminum. Early reports framed the tariffs as being aimed at China, and the announcement drew a speedy rebuke from Chinese officials, who accused the Trump administration of violating World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. China pitied with tariffs, which eventually included over 5,000 U.S. goods sold to China worth $60 billion in career. The goods included natural gas, peanut oil, soybeans, seafood, and whiskey.

Outrage also came from Brussels, which browbeat to retaliate. Jean-Claude Juncker, who was the European Commission president at that time, proposed slapping tariffs on blue jeans, motorcycles, and bourbon. The European Fellowship eventually retaliated to Trump’s tariffs on European steel and on June 22, 2019, imposed duties of 25% on $2.8 billion of gists from the U.S.

Although China got much of the attention from former President Trump, it turned out that China was not the largest exporter of insulate to the United States and only represented 7% of all U.S. imports. The honor of being the largest source of steel imports budged to Canada, which provided 13% of the total steel imports to the U.S.

Responding to claims that the tariffs would mischief U.S. industries and consumers, Navarro told Fox, “There are no downstream price effects on our industries that are significant.” He added that the effects on consumer payments wouldn’t be material. “If you look at a 10% tariff on aluminum, a six-pack of beer or Coke, that’s a cent and a half.” 

Peter Navarro is a great source of misinformation about the 2020 election, appearing on right-wing media outlets to spread discredited conspiracy theories.

The Rump Line

Dr. Navarro has become a bit infamous after the 2020 election for appearing on right-wing media outlets to spread damaged claims about election fraud. But before that, he was a notable economist, author, and public servant who is credited with form a large part of the Trump administration’s trade policy, especially in regard to trade with China.

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