White House adviser Navarro warns Wall Street 'globalists' over China
Posted November 9, 2018 3:40 p.m. EST
(CNN) — White House trade adviser Peter Navarro took a shot at Wall Street Friday, warning "globalist elites" against meddling with the Trump administration's policy on China.
Bankers are putting a "full court press" on the White House to make a deal that would end the escalating trade war between the two nations, Navarro said during a speech the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC.
"If and when there is a deal, it will be on President Donald J. Trump's terms -- not Wall Street terms," he said.
"If Wall Street is involved and continues to insinuate itself into these negotiations, there will be a stench around any deal that's consummated because it will have the imprimatur of Goldman Sachs and Wall Street," Navarro added.
Navarro, a former economics professor, accused billionaires and hedge fund managers of engaging in "shuttle diplomacy" between the United States and China, which he says weakens the President and his negotiating position. It wasn't immediately clear what he was referring to.
His remarks come ahead of Trump's expected meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this month in Argentina. The administration has sent mixed messages about whether the two are nearing a truce that would lift more than $250 billion in retaliatory tariffs on an array of goods ranging from chemical products and motors, to luggage and hats.
The comments reflect the ongoing divisions inside the Trump administration between free traders -- including those with Wall Street backgrounds like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and economic adviser Larry Kudlow -- and the so-called nationalists who hew to the "America First" stance laid out during the campaign and early months of Trump's presidency by former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Trump earlier this week promised a positive meeting with Xi.
"We'll have a good meeting and we're going to see what we can do," the President said at his Wednesday news conference following the midterm elections.
Trump has made it a priority to take an aggressive stance against China for what he says are unfair trade practices, including intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers. He's threatened to escalate the trade war further by taxing the remaining Chinese goods sold to the United States.
Many American manufacturers, farmers and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle say they appreciate the administration's efforts to change China's trade policies. But some argue the tariffs are not the best way to address the issues. They pose a dilemma to US importers who must decide whether to absorb the higher cost of the goods or pass it on to consumers, and some exporters are hurting from China's retaliatory tariffs.
Former White House economic adviser Gary Cohn left the administration in the wake of a fierce disagreement over tariffs on steel and aluminum. Earlier this week, Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive, told the BBC that the tariffs could hurt the US economy.
"I look at tariffs as a bit of a consumption tax [and] we do not want to tax our consumers when they're going to spend their disposable income on what we produce, which is services," he said.
In his remarks Friday, Navarro also blamed Wall Street for the decline in manufacturing and the opioid crisis.
"If they want to do good, then spend their billions in Dayton, Ohio, in the factory towns of America where we need a rebirth of our manufacturing base and end to the opioid crisis -- which they helped create by off-shoring our production," he said.