NEW YORK—President-elect Donald Trump has selected Harvard Economist Peter Navarro to head up a White House National Trade Council, a body that will advise the president on trade matters with a focus on reviving U.S. manufacturing.
The Trump transition team singled out Navarro, currently a professor at the University of California-Irvine, as being "instrumental in challenging the prevailing Washington orthodoxy on so-called free trade."
In particular, Trump noted that Navarro has "presciently documented the harms inflicted by globalism on American workers, and laid out a path forward to restore our middle class. He will fulfill an essential role in my administration as a trade adviser."
During the campaign, the transition team noted, Navarro and Commerce Secretary-designee Wilbur Ross worked to develop and communicate Trump's trade and economic agenda and a new vision to bring back America's manufacturing wealth.
"Peter Navarro is the best person President-elect Donald Trump could have chosen to head his National Trade Council," Ross said. "We were a great team during the campaign, and we will be a great team during the Administration."
Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said the creation a trade council recognizes the "importance of having a coherent and comprehensive strategy to strengthen our manufacturing sector.
"For too long, our trade policies haven't been focused on supporting our manufacturing sector but, in many ways, have undermined it. This new council could be an important part of a strategy to make sure that America can compete and win."
The British Broadcasting Corp. called Navarro a "fierce critic" of China, citing views expressed in his books "The Coming China Wars" and "Death by China."
The formation of the National Trade Council further demonstrates the President-elect's determination to make American manufacturing great again and to provide every American the opportunity to work in a decent job at a decent wage, the transition team said. Among the council's tasks will be to develop innovative strategies in trade negotiations, coordinate with other agencies to assess U.S. manufacturing capabilities and the defense industrial base, and help match unemployed American workers with new opportunities in the skilled manufacturing sector. Navarro is a "visionary economist," who will develop trade policies that will shrink the U.S. trade deficit, expand U.S. growth and help stop the exodus of jobs from the U.S., the transition team said.
The National Trade Council's mission also will be to lead the "Buy America, Hire America" program to ensure the President-elect's promise is fulfilled in government procurement and projects ranging from infrastructure to national defense.
The trade council will work "collaboratively and synergistically" with the National Security Council, the National Economic Council and the Domestic Policy Council to fulfill the President's vision of peace and prosperity through military and economic strength, the transition team said.