Trump administration trade advisor Peter Navarro will reportedly not be taking part in discussions with top Chinese economic advisor Liu He on Thursday, in another sign that momentum is building for the US and China to strike a deal and avert a costly tariff battle.
Jennifer Jacobs scooped the development for Bloomberg, citing two administration offiials:
“Navarro, 68, who once published a book titled ‘Death by China’ and has long been hostile to the country, has lately behaved erratically and unprofessionally, the officials said. His exclusion from the meeting marks another downturn in his White House career, where he was long isolated by other senior officials before the president promoted him earlier this year to his top rank of aides”
The news comes after US President Donald Trump asked his twitter followers to “stay tuned” for news on the trade talks, following a suggestion via tweet that he would try to ease penalties slapped on Chinese telecoms firm ZTE. Backing off the ban on sales of components to ZTE was reportedly a prerequisite stipulated by the Chinese for trade talks to even begin.
Navarro’s sidelining also follows accounts that fellow trade hawk Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is seen as losing sway. Politico wrote earlier this week that Ross had also been largely sidelined in the trade negotiations, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
“Ross — whom Trump once affectionately called a ‘killer,’ a high compliment in the president’s lexicon — has steadily become a bit player, with the president regularly leaning on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.”
It sounds like, at least for these trade talks, you can take Navarro off that list of people on whom the president is leaning.