China Macro Reporter
1 ‘How China Sees Trump’s Trade War’: Victor Shih

<table class="nl_card"><tbody><tr><td><table class="multi-block"><tbody><tr><td class="bg-holder"><img src=",c_limit/Chotiner-China-2.jpg" alt="CHINADebate"></td></tr></tbody></table><p class="caption">The New Yorker</p><p class="excerpt">'Trump actually knows more about economics, how the market works, how the financial markets work, than Xi Jinping.'</p></td></tr><tr><td class="nl-post"><p><strong>Victor Shih,</strong> a leading China expert and professor at the University of California, San Diego, was interviewed by <em>The New Yorker</em>’s Isaac Chotiner.</p><ul><li><strong>The aim</strong> – admirably accomplished – is to illuminate the Chinese perspective on the trade war.</li></ul><img style="margin-left:50px; width:40px;" src="" alt="CHINADebate"><strong>Read</strong> the full interview <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.<h6>‘What internal calculations are the Chinese leadership making around this tariff fight?’</h6><p><strong>‘Authoritarian regimes,</strong> because they’re not elected, can, in theory, impose a great deal of hardship on their population without suffering political repercussions.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘For Xi Jinping</strong> and the current leadership economic growth is an important objective for them for its own sake.’</li><li><strong>‘Xi has made</strong> a number of speeches where he has said that, interestingly, <a href="" target="_blank">making China great again</a> is an important objective, and continual growth, continual development, continual innovation, and technological breakthroughs are, according to him, important components of this great revival of China.’</li><li><strong>‘So to the extent</strong> that an all-out trade war would jeopardize many of these objectives, it does behoove the Chinese leadership to think of ways of getting out of it.’</li></ul><h6>‘When you say Xi has this idea about making China great again, is that driven by some long-term idea of China and its place in the world?’</h6><p><strong>‘I think</strong> it’s similar to this Trumpian egoism. You really see some deep parallels between Trump and Xi Jinping.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘Both leaders</strong> see themselves as uniquely capable of reviving greatness in their respective countries.’</li><li><strong>‘For Trump</strong> it may be partly rhetoric and partly politics.’</li><li><strong>‘For Xi Jinping,</strong> also partly politics—he needed to innovate a new ideology that was very different from his predecessors’ ideologies, so he picked national greatness.’</li><li><strong>‘He could have picked</strong> a number of other ideological lines, but he picked this one.’</li><li><strong>‘And I think for him, </strong>personally, it is an important objective.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘And as a result,</strong> I don’t believe some of this rhetoric that you’re seeing out of China, saying that we’re prepared to suffer great economic hardship or to continue this economic fight with the U.S. is very credible.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘Xi Jinping</strong> would like China to continue on this trajectory of economic growth.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘Of course,</strong> we can say that China can always just lends more money to build more infrastructure.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘But, for the past two years,</strong> many of Xi Jinping’s advisers, including Vice-Premier Liu He, have cautioned him against another massive stimulus program.’</li><li><strong>‘He can always</strong> just ignore the advice of his advisers and launch another massive stimulus.’</li><li><strong>‘But then China</strong> would have to deal with yet another substantially higher level of debt, as a share of G.D.P., in the near future.’</li></ul><img style="display: block; width:120px;margin-left: auto;margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="CHINADebate"><h6>‘Are you saying that, because Xi is wary of stimulus, that makes coming to some agreement on tariffs, extra important?’</h6><ul><li><strong>‘It’s more important</strong> than people credit.’</li><li><strong>‘In the official media</strong> they’re beginning to try to portray this scenario where China is going to suffer economic hardship to fight this war with the U.S.’</li><li><strong>‘I just don’t believe it.</strong> I think it’s propaganda.’</li></ul><h6>‘If you’re running a very nationalist campaign, and then you cave to outsiders, you have to sell that to your people. What would that look like?’</h6><p><strong>‘In democratic countries,</strong> we often talk about “audience costs,” which is, if you tell your public one thing and then you do another thing, your public is going to punish you for it.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘But leaders</strong> are not elected in China, so there’s a lot less popular-audience cost.’</li><li><strong>‘And the regime prides</strong> itself on total control over the media and censors everything that it doesn’t like.’</li><li><strong>‘So even if it,</strong> in reality, made important concessions to the U.S., it can simply hide that fact from the Chinese public.’</li><li><strong>‘Of course,</strong> the educated public will find out about it, but so what?’</li><li><strong>‘The vast majority</strong> of Chinese people will be almost completely ignorant of that fact, and that’s fine.’</li><li><strong>‘So when the U.S.</strong> is negotiating with China it should not worry about things like that, because China prides itself on its total control over the media.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘Within the government,</strong> you can say there could be this ultranationalist contingent who may fault Xi Jinping for caving.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘I don’t buy that.’</strong></li><li><strong>‘Xi Jinping</strong> has made it his mission to eradicate all his potential enemies from the Party, and I think he’s been quite successful with that.’</li><li><strong>‘So, who’s going</strong> to challenge him?’</li></ul><p><strong>‘And, on top of that,</strong> there are face-saving ways of doing almost anything—you can couch almost anything in a nationalist and victorious kind of language.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘I’ll give you one example.</strong> If U.S. wants to put in place a mechanism to monitor whether China is adhering to the agreement, of course, from China’s side they say, well, this is like imperialism.’</li><li><strong>‘But, actually,</strong> these mechanisms are in place today.’</li><li><strong>‘The I.M.F. conducts </strong>an annual review of China’s financial and economic well-being.’</li><li><strong>‘The Chinese government</strong> opens its doors to I.M.F. inspectors.’</li><li><strong>‘Those inspectors,</strong> who, along with Chinese government officials, inspect various provinces, inspect banks in China, open their books and go through tons and tons of data on how the financial sector is performing.'</li><li><strong>‘China does</strong> that willingly.’</li><li><strong>‘So if something</strong> can be structured like what the I.M.F. is doing, China can’t really say that this is an infringement on its sovereignty, because it is happening already.’</li></ul><h6>‘There have been rumblings that maybe there’s some degree of unhappiness with Xi.’</h6><p><strong>‘I don’t believe</strong> that at all.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘He doesn’t have</strong> absolute, absolute power - but the threshold for some kind of intra-party uprising against him is very, very high.’</li><li><strong>‘He would need</strong> to commit a catastrophic mistake that jeopardizes the continual rule of the Party for his potential enemies within the Party to rise up against him.’</li><li><strong>‘And, certainly,</strong> making a few concessions to the U.S. does not come even close to that threshold.’</li></ul><h6>‘What have you made of the way the Xi himself has tried to deal with Trump?’</h6><p><strong>‘China suffers</strong> from a deficit of true expertise about the U.S.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘You can randomly</strong> pick a U.S. expert among the Chinese, and they will know a lot about what President Clinton did, what President Bush did, etc.’</li><li><strong>‘But they have</strong> very little knowledge about interactions between Congress and the executive branch, and very, very little knowledge about interactions between businesses and the executive branch.’</li><li><strong>‘So they looked</strong> at was the electoral map, and they said, “Well, look at these states that elected Trump. They’re all agricultural states. So we’re going to go after agriculture if things between the U.S. and China were to worsen.”</li></ul><p><strong>‘What they didn’t realize</strong> is that, actually, agricultural subsidies are the one subsidy that, across the aisle, members of Congress actually support.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘And so,</strong> after China punished the U.S. by not buying soybeans and corn, that was easily dealt with by additional agricultural subsidies.’</li><li><strong>‘That was kind</strong> of a surprise to the Chinese side.’</li><li><strong>‘They have</strong> a simplistic view of the U.S., but I think this trade war has educated China on many facets of the U.S. system.’</li></ul><h6>‘Do you have some sense of what the Party makes of Trump personally?’</h6><p><strong>‘On the one hand,</strong> they do see this very typical real-estate billionaire, of whom there are many, obviously, in China. The regime is filled with real-estate billionaires—selfish, egotistical, money-hungry.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘These are all patterns</strong> that are very familiar to the Chinese government.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘But, on the other hand,</strong> they have been very surprised that doing things like granting Ivanka Trump’s brand copyrights in China, really playing up to Trump’s ego, have not been enough.’</p><img style="display:block; width:120px; margin-left:10px;" src=",d_placeholder_euli9k,h_1687,w_3000,x_0,y_0/dpr_1.5/c_limit,w_908/fl_lossy,q_auto/v1548377949/190124-Demopoulos-Ivanka-China-tease_ddxlxx" align="right" alt="CHINADebate"><ul><li><strong>‘They were very surprised</strong> at how sincere the nationalist rhetoric, the anti-Chinese trade rhetoric, turned out to be.’</li></ul><h6>‘Do we focus too much on the leader and not focus enough on Party dynamics?’</h6><p><strong>‘One should not</strong> just focus on him. But, in terms of political dynamics, probably just him.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘The problem faced</strong> by Xi is the same one that is faced by Trump, which is that they’re not economic experts.’</li><li><strong>‘Trump can say,</strong> “I’ve been a business person.”</li></ul><p><strong>‘In a weird way,</strong> I’d argue that Trump actually knows more about economics, how the market works, how the financial markets work, than Xi Jinping.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘Xi has lived his entire life</strong> under the care of the Chinese government and an entirely socialist internal economy.’</li><li><strong>‘When you are an official</strong> in the Chinese government, your meals come from the government; salary and housing is allocated by the government.’</li><li><strong>‘He really does not </strong>have a lot of intuition about how the market works.'</li><li><strong>‘So, the small group</strong> of trusted advisers around him and their advice becomes important.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘It’s right that people</strong> are focusing on Liu He, one of the technocrats that Xi Jinping trusts a great deal, because they go way back to high school.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘But for Liu He</strong>, there’s still a challenge. Even though he’s trusted, he’s listened to, if he makes a mistake, that trust also can go away. So Liu He is desperately trying not to make a mistake.’</li><li><strong>‘It’s possible that,</strong> given all these other objectives of national greatness, and not having a financial crisis, Liu He may be a true moderating voice in trying to persuade Xi Jinping to make certain concessions.’</li><li><strong>‘That’s the propaganda line</strong> that you see, but it’s possible that it’s true in reality.’</li></ul><h6>‘Having put as many as a million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps, is the Xi regime different on human rights than previous regimes?’</h6><img style="display: block; width:100%;margin-left: auto;margin-right: auto; padding-bottom:20px;" src="" alt="CHINADebate"><p><strong>‘Yeah, I think</strong> the concentration camps in Xinjiang really have inaugurated a new era for Chinese repression of its population.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘And, indeed,</strong> we have not seen such a large-scale mass internment since the Mao period, when Mao put millions of Chinese Communist Party members in labor camps and reëducation camps.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘This is targeted</strong> toward a particular ethnic group.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘If you are a scholar</strong> of authoritarian politics, like myself, what’s really galling about what China did is that it was totally unnecessary to lock up all these people.’</li><li><strong>‘I mean,</strong> it’s one thing if there is an active insurgency involving, you know, tens of thousands of people.’</li><li><strong>‘In Xinjiang,</strong> there were no active insurgencies; there were isolated terrorist incidents. I don’t know why the leadership approved such an unnecessary step.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘I think there</strong> is some kind of information asymmetry.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘You have these interest groups</strong> within the government—high terrorism officials, officials in Xinjiang—who gain enormously from these very extreme measures, because it costs billions and billions of dollars to build up these camps.'</li><li><strong>‘Somebody got these contracts.</strong> Somebody got rich by operating and building these camps.’</li><li><strong>‘Of course,</strong> the leadership has these tendencies to take very extreme measures.'</li><li>‘<strong>But, in a way,</strong> they were also persuaded by interest groups to take these very extreme and unnecessary measures in reaction to what objectively we can say is a relatively modest problem.’</li><li><strong>‘Terrorism is a serious problem </strong>anywhere you go, but this was not on the verge of any kind of organized insurgency. Not anywhere close, as far as I can tell.’</li></ul></td></tr></tbody></table>

2. Nick Lardy on the trade war, fixing capital allocations, & why China’s GDP numbers are right

<table class="nl_card"><tbody><tr><td><table class="multi-block"><tbody><tr><td class="bg-holder"><img src="" alt="CHINADebate"></td></tr></tbody></table><p class="caption"></p><p class="excerpt">'Washington policymakers have a somewhat older mindset. They still believe that China is highly dependent on exports. So, they think, "If we can slow China’s exports down, their economy is going to collapse." It won't.'</p></td></tr><tr><td class="nl-post"><p><strong>Nick Lardy</strong> of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, in an interview at Australian’s Lowy Institute, gave his analysis of the trade war, fixing capital allocations, why China’s GDP numbers are right – and much more.</p><ul><li><strong>Listen</strong> to Nick’s full interview <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</li></ul><table class="intable"><tr><td class="intable-border"><h5>1. The Trade War</h5><p><strong>‘China's dependence</strong> on the external sector has diminished substantially over the last decade.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘If you go back to the 2000s,</strong> up to around 2007/2008, their trade surplus, their current account surplus was growing at about 9% of GDP by 2007.’</li><li><strong>‘For those of you</strong> who can remember back to the 80s when Japan at the peak had a current account surplus of something like 3 to 4% - at the time this was seemingly unfathomable, that a country could be running such big a current account surplus.'</li><li><strong>'But China's</strong> was almost three times bigger.’</li><li><strong>‘So, this gave a big boost</strong> of economic growth because they were export a lot more than they were importing.’</li><li><strong>‘Since 2007</strong> that current account surplus is basically gone down to zero - it was 0.4% last year.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘The first metric</strong> is that from 2007 when your surplus starts shrinking that means you're importing more than you're exporting. So your domestic demand is growing more slowly because a lot of your demand is being satisfied by imports compared to exports.’</p><p><strong>‘The second metric</strong> is simply looking at exports to GDP. China's exports to GDP - I don't remember the exact numbers – has fallen to something in the 20%s.’</p><p><strong>‘The third metric</strong> is that China share of global trade has come down.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘From 2001</strong> up until around 2015 or so, China’s share of global trade - in particular its share of global exports - expanded year after year after year.'</li><li><strong>‘But in the last roughly three years</strong> their share of global exports has come down.’</li><li><strong>‘So China is less</strong> trade-dependent than it used to be.’</li></ul></td></tr></table><table class="intable"><tr><td class="intable-border"><p><strong>‘I don't think</strong> this third metric – that China is less trade-dependent than it used to be - is something that's been fully factored into the thinking of policymakers in Washington. To some extent they have a somewhat older mindset.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘They believe</strong> that China is highly dependent on exports.’</li><li><strong>‘So, they think, "If we can slow</strong> their exports down, their economy is going to collapse."</li></ul><p><strong>‘The Chinese economy will slow down</strong> - there lots of different estimates out there.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘If Trump expands the tariffs</strong> to the products that have not been put on special tariffs and that stays at 25% for any significant amount of time that could slice a percentage point of China's economic growth.’</li><li><strong>‘So instead</strong> of growing at 6 point something, China could be growing at 5 point something.’</li><li><strong>‘The Chinese</strong> have some flexibility to further offset part of that by having more tax cuts of the type they introduced earlier this year - but I don't think they can fully offset it.’</li><li><strong>‘But I don't think</strong> China is going to fall apart if they're going to get five point something instead of six point something.’</li></ul></td></tr></table><table class="intable"><tr><td class="intable-border"><p><strong>‘If Trump puts the tariffs</strong> on the remaining three hundred and some billion, then that support for the tariffs in the United States is going to erode very, very rapidly.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘U.S. consumers</strong> have not paid much of a price for the tariffs that have been levied so far.’</li><li><strong>‘That’s because</strong> the tariffs have gone overwhelmingly on intermediates goods that are used in the production process within the United States.’</li><li><strong>‘Those intermediates</strong> constitute only a part of the value of the final product – a lot but not all gets passed through.’</li><li><strong>‘But the things</strong> that have been exempt from tariffs so far – like toys, footwear, apparel, and consumer electronics - none of those are intermediates.’</li><li><strong>‘Those are all consumer goods,</strong> and most of the 25% tariffs is going to get passed through to consumers.’</li><li><strong>‘If the broader tariffs</strong> go through, U.S. consumers will soon be quite aware of the higher prices that they’re paying.’</li><li><strong>‘If there's no trade agreement</strong> and if our deficit continues to expand as it has since the trade war, then the obvious question that will be raised: “What are we getting out of this trade dispute with China?”</li></ul><p><strong>‘I'm trying</strong> to make a comparison.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘China can withstand</strong> somewhat slower rate of growth.’</li><li><strong>‘I don't think</strong> Trump can get reelected if these tariffs are on a very broad range of consumer goods, and he can't point to any gains.’</li></ul></td></tr></table><table class="intable"><tr><td class="intable-border"><p><strong>Technology transfer.</strong> ‘I think the most overblown trade war issue is forced technology transfer.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘This has diminished dramatically</strong> over the last couple of decades.’</li><li><strong>‘The reason is very simple:</strong> Initially if you were in a multi-national and wanted to invest in China, you had to do so in the form of a joint venture, and the technology that you brought to the table was part of your capital contribution.’</li><li><strong>‘Most companies</strong> have entered into these transactions voluntarily - they did not want to come to China and compete on the basis of Chinese technology - they thought their technology would give them an advantage in the market.’</li><li><strong>‘But this also means</strong> the Chinese partner has access to the technology.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘Today about three-quarters </strong>of all direct investment going into China is in the form of wholly-owned foreign companies - there is no domestic partner, and there is no sharing of technology.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘But if you read the 301 report</strong> that came out from our Trade Representative’s Office last year, it is filled - page after page after page - with assertions of forced technology transfer.’</li><li><strong>‘The US-China Business Council</strong> does an annual survey asking members: What are your greatest obstacles in doing business in China?’</li><li><strong>‘Forced</strong> technology transfer is number seven.’</li><li><strong>‘Number one</strong> is regulatory problems, that is, arbitrary unforeseen changes in the regulatory environment that affect the industry.’</li></ul></td></tr></table><table class="intable"><tr><td class="intable-border"><h5>2. Fixing the Capital Allocation Problem</h5><p><strong>‘Private companies</strong> were hit with a double whammy.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘They were already</strong> losing access to bank credit, and then the Chinese government decides that credit to GDP was too high.’</li><li><strong>‘So they started cutting back,</strong> and the cutbacks came primarily in so-called shadow banking, which had become a major source of credit for private firms.’</li><li><strong>‘This has led</strong> to much slower growth on the part of private firms.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘The Central Bank regulators</strong> started taking steps to improve the allocation of credit to private firms at the beginning of 2018.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘The bank and insurance regulatory chairman</strong> gave some speeches and said banks should strive to make 30% of their loans to private companies.’</li><li><strong>‘I'm a skeptic.</strong> I think this is basically window dressing and a waste of time.’</li></ul></td></tr></table><table class="intable"><tr><td class="intable-border"><p><strong>‘That’s because</strong> as long as there is a practically implicit 100% guarantee on lending to state companies, then banks have no incentive to lend to private companies.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘On average private companies</strong> may be a lot more credit-worthy - and I think they are.’</li><li><strong>‘But if the credit risk</strong> of lending a state company is zero because of the implied guarantee, banks will continue to lend overwhelmingly the state companies.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘China’s got</strong> to get rid of that guarantee.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘They can start slowly.</strong> They can allow some state companies to go bankrupt and have banks absorb the loss out of their own profits and get reflected on their on their earnings.’</li><li><strong>‘That would start</strong> to send a message that "Hey, we're not guaranteeing these loans anymore."</li><li><strong>‘Then banks</strong> would have to start doing a more serious allocation of credit worthiness.’</li><li><strong>‘Keep in mind 40%</strong> of all state companies lose money year after year after year, and none of them goes out of business. They just keep borrowing more money.’</li></ul></td></tr></table><table class="intable"><tr><td class="intable-border"><p><strong>‘The number of state companies</strong> - even though their contribution to GDP is nowhere near what it once was - continues to go up.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘But with the restrictions</strong> on the flow of credit to private companies a lot of private companies have disappeared - they've either been taken over by state companies, or they've gone out of business.’</li></ul></td></tr></table><table class="intable"><tr><td class="intable-border"><h5>3. Why China’s GDP Numbers are Accurate 📊</h5><p><strong>‘China’s GDP numbers are generally accurate. </strong>But I wouldn't place a huge emphasis on whatever is to the right of the decimal place.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘That’s not to say</strong> the Chinese don't do some smoothing.’</li><li><strong>‘The IMF </strong>has looked into this. When growth accelerates the official numbers may be understating growth; when it decelerates, it may be slightly overstating growth.’</li><li><strong>‘But the IMF</strong> view is that over the over the long term the average of the official numbers over any multi-year period tends to be pretty close to the real performance.’</li></ul></td></tr></table><table class="intable"><tr><td class="intable-border"><p><strong>‘When people</strong> are talking about a very, very sharp slowdown, the first thing I look at is what's happening to imports.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘If the economy</strong> is really decelerating rapidly, you should see a very substantial deceleration in imports.’</li><li><strong>‘There a lot of factors</strong> that feed into the growth of imports, but the most important is growth of gross domestic income.’</li><li><strong>‘The trade data</strong> in general have been proven to be quite reliable.'</li></ul><p><strong>‘I'll make one final point:</strong> on every metric that I've ever been able to find - whether its growth, return on sales, return on assets, credit worthiness, and so forth: private firms look better than state firms.’</p><ul><li><strong>‘So, if the state statistical authorities</strong> were cooking all the data, why have they done so in a way that makes state companies look so bad.'</li></ul></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table>

3. ‘Death by China’ & Peter Navarro

<table class="nl_card"><tbody><tr><td><table class="multi-block"><tbody><tr><td class="bg-holder"><img src="" alt="CHINADebate"></td></tr></tbody></table><p class="caption"></p><p class="excerpt">'DEATH BY CHINA is right on. This important documentary depicts our problem with China with facts, figures and insight. I urge you to see it.’ Donald Trump.</p></td></tr><tr><td class="nl-post"><p><strong>President Trump</strong> had China in his crosshairs long before he came into office.</p><ul><li><strong>But then</strong> he met Peter Navarro, author of the book and producer of the movie <em>Death by China</em>.</li><li><strong>As one observer </strong>noted there was a ‘mind meld.’</li><li><strong>Although others,</strong> notably USTR Lighthizer, get more press, Dr. Navarro seems to be behind the scenes, as he says, ‘Confirming President Trump’s excellent intuitions.’</li></ul><p><strong>I have included</strong> a video of John Oliver on <em>Last Week Tonight</em> describing the Trumpian trade principals and Peter Navarro.</p><ul><li><strong>As laugh out loud</strong> funny as it is scary.</li></ul><hr><a href="" target="_blank"><img style="display:block; width:100%;margin-bottom:20px;" src="" align="right" alt="CHINADebate"></a><p><strong>‘Trump’s views on trade are crude:</strong> there are winners (them) and losers (us), and there is one simple solution that will fix everything (threat of a trade war),’ writes <em>The New Yorker</em>’s Adam Davidson <a href="" target="_blank">‘Trump’s Muse on U.S. Trade with China’</a> in 2016.</p><ul><li><strong>‘How Trump came to these views</strong> is not totally clear, but his thinking, especially on trade and China, has certainly been influenced by Peter Navarro.’</li><li><strong>‘Peter Navarro</strong>, at the time of the article was ‘a professor of economics and public policy at the University of California, Irvine. Being the only economist—and one with a Harvard Ph.D. at that—on Donald Trump’s economic team, Navarro provides a patina of legitimacy.’</li><li><strong>‘Navarro’s views on trade and China</strong> are so radical, however, that, even with his assistance, I was unable to find another economist who fully agrees with them.’</li><li><strong>After Mr. Trump’s election</strong> Navarro was appointed Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.</li></ul><p><strong>Also see.</strong></p><ul><li><a href="" target="_blank">‘Trump’s Top China Expert Isn’t a China Expert’</a> in <em>Foreign Policy</em></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">‘Peter Navarro: Trump’s Nutty Economics Professor’</a> in the conservative <em>National Review</em></li></ul><br><a href="" target="_blank"><img style="display:block; width:50%;margin-left:20px;padding-top:20px;" src="" align="right" alt="CHINADebate"></a><p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Watch John Oliver on <em>Last Week Tonight</em></strong></a> - in 2018 he gave a very funny and very accurate (to my mind) account of the thought underlying the Trump administration’s trade and China policies.</p><ul><li><strong>Much of that account</strong> is about Peter Navarro (that starts around 13m 25s).</li></ul><p><strong>‘By most accounts</strong> the driving force [of China trade policy] is Peter Navarro, head of the Office of Trade and manufacturing policy,’</p><ul><li><strong>‘Navarro</strong> is the author of a series of get-rich investment books.’</li><li><strong>‘Like Trump</strong> he's obsessed with trade deficits in general and China in particular, saying trade with China is a zero-sum game, meaning one country can only win if the other country loses.’</li><li><strong>‘And it is hard to overstate</strong> just how rare his views are among economists.’</li></ul><p><strong>‘How on earth</strong> did Navarro get a job at the White House?’</p><ul><li><strong>‘Well, it is way dumber </strong>than you are thinking.’</li><li><strong>‘Apparently Jared Kushner</strong> was tasked with finding Trump experts on Chinese trade.’</li><li><strong>‘So Jared went on Amazon,</strong> and he found some of Peter Navarro's books and he asked him to come to the White House.’</li><li><strong>‘That's how Peter Navarro</strong> ended up in the White House</li><li><strong>‘Jared looked</strong> for experts on Amazon - that was his rigorous process.</li></ul><p><strong>‘The Navarro book</strong> that Jarrett found was called <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Death by China</em></a><em>.’</em></p><a href="" target="_blank"><img style="display: block; width:25%;padding-top:20px; margin-left: 20px;" src=",204,203,200_.jpg" alt="CHINADebate" align="right"></a><ul><li><strong>‘It paints</strong> the U.S.- Chinese trade relationship in apocalyptic terms.’</li><li><strong>‘Navarro</strong> actually turned the book into a movie that one critic called “the documentary equivalent of a raving street corner derelict.”</li><li><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Watch</strong></a> the movie ‘Death by China’ here. (At least, as a summary, watch the knife plunge at 1m 56s)</li></ul><p><strong><em>Death by China</em>: the positive.</strong> ‘DEATH BY CHINA is right on. This important documentary depicts our problem with China with facts, figures and insight. I urge you to see it,’ says Donald Trump.</p><ul><li><strong>‘A really wonderful development</strong> is Dr. Navarro’s film, which is on YouTube online, is going to reach 1,000,000 viewers’ says China expert and fellow at the Hudson Institute, Michael Pillsbury. ‘The title is somewhat controversial it's called <em>Death by China'</em>.</li><li><strong>‘Its message,</strong> despite the hyperbole, certainly warrants examination and discussion,’ <a href="" target="_blank">writes</a> the <em>New York Times</em>.</li></ul></td></tr></tbody></table>