WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday he is establishing a new White House National Trade Council and tapping Peter Navarro, a Harvard-trained economist and professor at the University of California Irvine, to head it.
The mission of Trump’s new trade council will be to advise the president on “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,” according to Trump’s communications office.
The council will also be tasked with leading a “Buy America, Hire America” program in the government procurement area, as well as on projects ranging from infrastructure and national defense.
“I am deeply honored for the opportunity to serve the President-elect and this nation and to advise on policies to rebalance our trade, rebuild our industrial base, and restore America’s comprehensive national power by making America great again,” Navarro said, echoing the themes that Trump championed during the campaign.
According to Trump’s team, Navarro, whose official title will be assistant to the president and director of trade and industrial policy, has been “instrumental in challenging the prevailing Washington orthodoxy on so-called free trade.”
“I read one of Peter’s books on America’s trade problems years ago and was impressed by the clarity of his arguments and thoroughness of his research,” Trump said. “He 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.”
Navarro worked closely with financier Wilbur Ross, Trump’s Commerce Secretary designee, throughout the campaign to develop a strategy on revitalizing U.S. manufacturing.
“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.”
The trade council will collaborate with Trump’s National Security Council, National Economic Council and Domestic Policy Council.
“For the first time, there will be a council within the White House that puts American manufacturing and American workers first, and that thinks strategically about the health of America’s defense industrial base and the role of trade and manufacturing in national security,” Trump’s team said.