White House trade adviser says on Denver radio: ‘We come in peace’

Author: Joey Bunch - April 6, 2018 - Updated: April 6, 2018

Navarro China tradeWhite House trade adviser Peter Navarro arrives for an event with President Trump to announce tariffs and investment restrictions on China, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, last month in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

DENVER — White House trade director Peter Navarro told Coloradans nervous about a trade war that President Trump is just fighting back, not picking fights by leveling tariffs against Chinese goods.

Trade war? “We come in peace,” Navarro said Thursday on “Business for Breakfast” to host Jimmy Sengenberger on Denver’s Money Talk 1690 AM.

The White House adviser didn’t talk at all about the impacts to American businesses that depend on exports to China, but instead rationalized the need for Trump’s get-tough stance.

Navarro said past presidents had ignored China’s theft of intellectual property around artificial intelligence, robotics and quantum computing.

“These are the industries of the future, and if we don’t have those industries we won’t have a future,” Navarro told Sengenberger. “That’s President Trump’s view, and he’s absolutely right.”

China’s retaliatory tariffs have targeted farm goods, mostly, which affects a key constituency that helped put Trump in the White House.

Sengenberger asked why the president didn’t make a case before the World Trade Organization first, before leveling tariffs.

Navarro said going through the WTO would be slow and ineffective, given the way China had gamed the system.

“It’s really not an appropriate tool for much of what China is doing,” he said.

Navarro said the Trump administration has no interest in a trade war. however.

“We’re not interested in anything but trade peace based on fair and reciprocal trade,” he said.

Navarro added, “We will do what must be done to defend this country from those kinds of unfair trade practices, but we come in peace.”

He said the White House economic policy has four parts: cutting taxes, deregulation, “unleashing the energy sector” and bringing trade deals into balance.

You can hear the full interview by clicking here.

In his other job, Sengenberger is the president and CEO of the Millennial Policy Center, a think tank that engages younger activists (and voters) on conservative policies.

Thursday the center released an analysis called “A Different Approach to Trade with China: Why Tariffs are the Wrong Method to Advance Trade Policy.”

“While we are flirting with a trade war with one of our most significant trading partners, it is not too late for President Trump and his team to reverse course and achieve success without all the collateral damage of tariffs,” Sengenberger said of the report.

The center even included a video spoof on the tariffs, called “Scam Wow.” Watch it here.

The three-page white paper was written by Sengenberger and Millennial Policy Center research assistant Jacob Dubbert and looks at better ways to deal with China, using the WTO.

“Ultimately, empowering international institutions like the WTO to address trade disputes will help to incentivize more open, free market policies, and to realize the prosperity that unfettered trade can bring,” Sengenberger said.

You can read the report by clicking here.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.