stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


Search

space
  This site         Tips

  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

   Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...

space

Services
   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
Remarks on Trudeau suit Navarro's style
space
He once battled real estate developers, now he's advising one on trade at the White House
space
By TAMSIN MCMAHON
  
  

Email this article Print this article
Saturday, June 16, 2018 – Page A3

SAN JOSE -- Long before he became one of the Trump administration's most vociferous critics of free trade, Peter Navarro was an academic and aspiring politician in San Diego who ran for Congress as a Democrat, championed the environment and led a campaign to stop the city's powerful real estate developers.

Mr. Navarro, a 68-year-old Harvard-trained economist, has taken an unlikely path to the White House as Mr. Trump's top trade adviser. The lone academic on the President's economic advisory council, his polarizing views on China's trade policies have alienated him from many mainstream economists and antagonized more moderate factions of the Trump administration.

Yet Mr. Navarro has emerged as a key figure in his country's escalating trade disputes. He was a strong opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Mr.

Trump pulled out of in his first month in office.

He has also supported Mr.

Trump's threats to walk away from the North American freetrade agreement and pushed for the imposition of 25-per-cent tariffs against US$50-billion in Chinese goods, which Mr. Trump approved on Friday.

Former colleagues and political associates in California say they were shocked to find Mr. Navarro had reinvented himself as an ardent supporter of a Republican real estate tycoon. But they were less surprised by his comments on the heels of last weekend's Group of Seven meeting in Quebec that there is "a special place in hell" for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - comments for which he later apologized.

They say Mr. Navarro shares not only the President's stridently protectionist views on trade, but his penchant for the spotlight and his combative persona. "It was pretty classic Peter Navarro," says Lisa Ross, who worked on several of Mr. Navarro's political campaigns in San Diego. "Articulate hyperbole, and the perfect sound bite that played all week."

A long-time business professor at University of California, Irvine, Mr. Navarro spent the better part of the 1990s focused on political issues in San Diego, where he headed a group pushing to slow the city's growth and helped to successfully defeat a proposal to open up 5,000 hectares of green space for development. "He was the guy waving his arms in front of the bulldozers," Ms. Ross said.

He ran for political office five times, including for San Diego mayor, attracting attention through provocative statements and publicity stunts, losing every campaign, often narrowly.

In his 1996 bid for Congress, he positioned himself as a brash, anti-establishment outsider who could sway independent voters in a district considered a prime target for Democrats looking to retake the House.

Hillary Clinton, then first lady, campaigned for him in California.

In San Diego Confidential, a tell-all memoir Mr. Navarro wrote about his bid for public office, he called Ms. Clinton "one of the most gracious, intelligent, perceptive and, yes, classy women I have ever met." Decades later, Mr. Navarro would refer to her on the Trump campaign trail as "the job-destroyer Hillary."

In his writings, Mr. Navarro chalks up his multiple political defeats to the power of San Diego's business establishment and his opponents' dirty tricks, although polls and focus groups turned up that many voters were put off by his aggressive personality and his fierce attacks on his opponents. "Everything is a war with him," one voter told his pollsters.

At UC Irvine, Mr. Navarro's expertise was in energy deregulation, not trade. He began to focus on trade with China around 2004, when he noticed that many of the students in his part-time MBA program for working professionals began losing their jobs. "All roads quickly pointed to China," he wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2016.

Mr. Navarro has published three books on China since 2006, pointing to the country's entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 as the primary trigger behind the decline of U.S. economic dominance. He portrays China as dedicated to stealing U.S. jobs and undermining the country's defence industry, even as it pollutes the environment and harms consumers with its defective manufactured goods.

"The research he did for writing his books changed him," says Michele Nash-Hoff, who runs a manufacturing sales agency in San Diego and is a member of the Coalition for a Prosperous America, the industry group that supports a hard-line stand on tariffs and NAFTA negotiations.

His 2012 documentary, Death By China, depicts China as a cartoon knife plunging into a bleeding map of the United States, while its economic policies are shown as bombs and missiles described as "weapons of job destruction."

Many China experts take issue with Mr. Navarro's lack of deep experience working in China.

"Asking Peter for advice on trade relations with China is a little bit like asking a plumber to take out your appendix; there's a little bit of knowledge there but not much," says John Graham, a retired professor of international business who worked with Mr.

Navarro at UC Irvine for 25 years.

While economists and foreign policy experts do agree with some of Mr. Navarro's complaints against China, including its export subsidies and its environmental and human-rights abuses, they largely disagree with his view of global trade as a zero-sum game where the winners are countries such as China, Canada and Mexico, and the loser is the United States.

"I think five years ago, Navarro would have been seen as way out of consensus," says Ian Bremmer, president of political research and consulting firm Eurasia Group, who has known Mr. Navarro for years. "Now the consensus is moving closer to him."

More troubling for analysts such as Mr. Bremmer is Mr. Navarro's vision of what the Trump administration should do about U.S.

trade imbalances. Mr. Bremmer argues that rather than tariffs and protectionist policies, the White House should focus on shoring up domestic industry through investments in research and development, while cultivating stronger ties to the United States' global allies if it wants to retain its influence over the global economy.

"I think Navarro's view is we can do it ourselves," he says. "And I think that's a problem. Because China is a lot more powerful, and is getting so every day."

Associated Graphic

Peter Navarro listens in on a news conference earlier this month in the White House rose garden. He is the lone academic on the U.S. President's economic advisory council and a former Democrat from San Diego known for his polarizing views and harsh language.

CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Eric_Duhatschek Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail
 

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.

Advertisement

7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Inside

Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes


Editorial
Where Manley is going with his first budget




space

Columnists



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.

 National


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
space
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
space
Margaret Wente arrow
Counterpoint
space
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game
space
 Business


Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
space
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
space
Mathew Ingram arrow
space
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
space
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
space
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
space
Andrew Willis arrow
Streetwise
space
 Sports


Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
space
Eric Duhatschek arrow
space
Allan Maki arrow
space
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
space
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
Golf
space
 The Arts


John Doyle arrow
Television
space
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
space
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
space
Johanna Schneller arrow
Moviegoer
space
 Comment


Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
space
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
space
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
space
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
space
Paul Knox arrow
Worldbeat
space
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
space
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
space
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
space
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
space
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
space
William Thorsell arrow
space





Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page