Why is Peter Navarro criticized by Chinese and foreign press
Fang Xiao

Editor's note: Fang Xiao is a journalist of a Chinese media outlet The Paper. The article, first published by The Paper on August 10, 2019, reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

The White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who has a long history of anti-China bigotry, preaches trade protectionism and exaggerates the so-called Chinese economic and military threat to the United States, was refuted by the People's Daily of China and the Wall Street Journal.

An op-ed piece of the People's Daily on August 10, headlined "The world should work together to resist paranoid extremist views," pointed out that "Peter Navarro has been widely criticized. The Wall Street Journal's editorial headlined 'A Navarro recession?' published on August 7 is a strong testimony to that."

The WSJ editorial cautioned that Trump's escalating trade war with China is backfiring by causing businesses to refrain from investment and reduce hiring, and blamed Navarro for giving poor advice to President Trump as he was the only top economic adviser who supported the imposition of new tariffs on China.

The editorial also warned that "Mr. Trump's willy-nilly trade offensive could be the mistake that turns a slowdown into the Navarro recession."

Surprisingly, Navarro said in an interview that, "the Wall Street Journal will write what it writes. It doesn't sound a lot different from the People's Daily in terms of the news that it puts out."

Why did many western media organizations re-publish articles or cite many of the views on China-U.S. trade war expressed by the Chinese media? The Associated Press even published the full text of an editorial by the Chinese media.

White House Director of Trade Policy Peter Navarro (C) dodges the press after speaking on Fox News at the White House in Washington, DC, June 4, 2018. /VCG Photo

White House Director of Trade Policy Peter Navarro (C) dodges the press after speaking on Fox News at the White House in Washington, DC, June 4, 2018. /VCG Photo

Those who uphold justice and integrity will have a huge following, while those who are ill-intentioned are bound to face opposition.

Several international mainstream media outlets have recently issued articles accusing the U.S. of erroneous trade policies that will not only lead to a recession in the U.S. but also bring about a global economic crisis.

The WSJ editorial noted that "CEO confidence and capital spending have tailed off since the trade war escalated in 2018, and the falloff is beginning to affect economic growth. The near-three percent surge in GDP has slid to two percent."

The editorial also said that the imposition of new tariffs on China by the U.S. reduced the demand for Chinese yuan and encouraged the capital flight to safe havens like the dollar, which encouraged more capital into dollar instruments and would cause the dollar to appreciate. "China isn't manipulating its currency. It is setting a lower peg to reflect supply and demand," the editorial added. 

Time magazine also pointed out on August 7 that the U.S. government had revived the use of trade as a political cudgel, which was an unprecedented level of interference in world trade. It warned that the world could plunge into a crisis from which there would be no easy retreat.

The magazine also mentioned that in a research note issued on August 5, Morgan Stanley economists warned that continued China-U.S. trade frictions could mean the global economy heading for a recession in just nine months.

C. Fred Bergsten, founding director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a well-known U.S. think-tank, said that China did not manipulate its exchange rate and the so-called "China's currency manipulation" was really fake news and ridiculous. The Trump administration was trying to devalue the dollar by waging a currency war, which was very dangerous.

China-U.S. trade war. /VCG Photo

China-U.S. trade war. /VCG Photo

William Reinsch, a trade expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, also warned that using the exchange rate as a weapon could lead the U.S. to repeat the mistakes of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

On August 9, in an exclusive interview with China Central Television (CCTV), Lu Lei, deputy administrator of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, reiterated that the U.S. Treasury's claim of China engaging in currency manipulation was a unilateral and irresponsible definition that seriously undermined international rules.

On August 9, an opinion piece on CCTV, headlined "Ill-intentioned exchange rate game causes trouble to the world", pointed out that "no matter how good that the U.S. government is at calculations and machinations, it will be impossible to get what it wants, and on the contrary, it will lead to turmoil in the global financial markets, seriously hinder international trade and global economic recovery, and may also trigger a very bad demonstration effect around the world, endangering the stable operation of the international monetary system."

The People's Daily pointed out on August 10 that some people on the U.S. side had repeatedly politicized economic issues, which was nothing but a replay of maximum pressure tricks with a vengeance and an attempt to snatch more benefits from the trade negotiations.

This blatant violation of international rules and unilateral assessment of the exchange rate policies of other countries have jeopardized the international economic and trade order and the stability of the world economy. Time will tell that eventually, the farce of some people in the U.S. will end in failure.

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