Trump Preparing For Trade Showdown With China

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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President-elect Donald Trump’s latest appointment signals that he is very serious about confronting China on trade.

Trump appointed Peter Navarro, a known China hawk and staunch critic of trade with China, as the head of the newly-created National Trade Council Wednesday.

“China like every other country is closely watching the policy direction the U.S. is going to take,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday, “Cooperation is the only right choice for both sides.”

Navarro, a 67-year-old professor of business at University of California, Irvine, is decidedly anti-China. His views are clearly outlined in his books on China: “The Coming China Wars,” “Death by China,” and “Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World.”

“Trump’s Navarro nomination may raise [the] risk of Sino-US conflict,” the Global Times asserted.

“Trump has entrusted Navarro with an important post. This is by no means a positive signal. China needs to face up to the reality that the Trump team maintains a hard-line attitude toward China. It must discard any illusions and make full preparations for any offensive move by the Trump government,” the editorial explained.

“If Washington dares to provoke China over its core interests, Beijing won’t fear setting up a showdown with the US, pressuring the latter to pay respect to China,” the article added.

“The US can no longer push China around,” the Global Times concluded.

Trump has repeatedly criticized China for manipulating its currency and engaging in unfair trade practices. He has promised to label China a currency manipulator early in his administration and place high tariffs on Chinese exports.

Some observers predict that such actions will result in a trade war, jeopardizing hundreds of billions of dollars in trade.

Trump claims that China is “raping” the U.S. with its trade practices and asserts that China must learn to “play by the rules.”

“It’s an apt description of the damage and carnage that China’s trade policies have wrought on the American economic heartland. What’s happening is rapacious,” Navarro previously told the Guardian.

He has accused “cheating China” of dumping illegally-subsidized and “contaminated, defective, and cancerous” exports into American markets, destroying domestic factories and ruining people’s lives.

Navarro is a firm opponent of China’s “brutal, authoritarian communist government” and its arguable decimation of the American economy.

Navarro encourages the U.S. and its allies to significantly reduce imports from China to put pressure on the country to adapt to proper trade practices and hinder its ability to engage in militarization. “We will have only ourselves to blame when the bullets and missiles begin to fly,” he argues in his latest book.

Cheng Dawei, a Renmin University of China economics professor and former trade advisor to Beijing, told The Wall Street Journal that China is preparing to retaliate against Trump. “China is now preparing some weapons. [China’s Commerce Ministry] is quite busy now, I’m sure,” she said.

“We should stay vigilant. We have to be prepared,” Li Yonghui, the head of the school of international relations at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, stressed to the Guardian. “Trump will certainly place unprecedented pressure on China.”

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