China is “sticking it to us,” a White House adviser said Monday, and how America responds will determine the future, according to Peter Navarro, director of trade and industrial policy at the White House.
“Depending on how China behaves in this matter, we’re gonna look into the soul of China and really see who they are,” Navarro said on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
He added that “as the president wrote in a national security strategy in December, they are now a strategic rival … That is a historic document as well. For the first time, we’ve redesignated China — the National Security Council — we’ve designated them as a strategic rival. Not an ally, not a partner.”
Navarro’s comments come after a tumultuous week on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled almost 400 points on Thursday and Friday amid fears of a trade war.
It is crucial for America to maintain its resolve as the global competition between the United States and China enters the next phase, Navarro (pictured above) said.
“Basically, we went through 16 years of [Barack] Obama and [George W.] Bush, and they, basically, let China take away most of our traditional manufacturing,” he said. “What’s at stake now, what President Trump sees, is a battle of these emerging future industries.”
Those are the technologies that will determine the future not only of economics but of military security, Navarro said.
“We simply can’t let them gain the economic high ground here.”
“We simply can’t let them gain the economic high ground here,” he said.
The good news, Navarro said, is that most policymakers at this point recognize China’s rogue practices, such as widespread theft of intellectual property.
“This is a historic moment, because we have people on all sides of the spectrum at least acknowledging now that China steals from us, forces technology transfers, engages in all sorts of unfair trade practices,” he said. “The only debate now is how to go about it.”
Still, voices of dissent — and, perhaps surprisingly, shock — persist.
“Every time we’ve done one of these actions, it’s basically been a many month-long process where we do things in a measured, balanced, analytical way,” Navarro said. “And then, yeah, people with their hair on fire [are] saying, ‘Wow, I’m shocked.’ They shouldn’t be shocked. The president is doing exactly what he promised. It’s only shocking because everybody else before him never kept his promises.”
Much of the criticism of Trump on trade is designed to create a climate of fear, said Navarro, who also serves as director of the White House National Trade Council.
“What the Wall Street Journal’s writing is very similar to what the People’s Daily is writing,” he said.
Navarro said China has poured its enormous trade surplus into sovereign wealth funds that systematically target high-tech startups in the United States.
“They’re buying up, essentially, the crown jewels of American technology,” he said.
Increasingly, he added, China also is requiring American companies that want access to the Chinese market to move their research and development operations there.
That means that China ends up with the patents to cutting-edge technology, Navarro said.
Trump critics offer no alternative other than negotiations and World Trade Organization complaints, he said. He added that the Trump administration is using those tools as well.
But Navarro stressed that negotiations absent muscle are meaningless. That approach has led to the loss of 70,000 factories, the elimination of millions of manufacturing jobs, and a a 40 percent reduction in the historical rate of economic growth.
“Talk is not cheap,” he said. “Talk with the Chinese is very expensive.”