WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House adviser Peter Navarro on Friday lashed out at efforts by current and former Wall Street executives to urge the United States and China to end their trade dispute, calling them “unregistered foreign agents” who were trying to pressure President Donald Trump into a deal.
“When these unpaid foreign agents engage in this kind of diplomacy, so-called diplomacy, all they do is weaken this president and his negotiating position,” Navarro said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
“No good can come of this. If there is a deal, if and when there is a deal, it will be on President Donald J. Trump’s terms, not Wall Street terms,” he added.
Trump is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the end of November on the sidelines of a G20 leaders summit to discuss a possible way out of their deepening trade war.
In recent days, Trump has said he believed that he and Xi can reach a deal.
China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi on Friday said the U.S.-China trade talks can be resolved through talks and that any ongoing conflict would hurt both countries.
As the U.S.-China dispute escalated, executives such as Blackstone Group (BX.N) Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman and Henry Paulson, the former U.S. Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs (GS.N) chairman, have met with officials on both sides to press for a resolution.
Paulson, in remarks in Singapore on Wednesday, warned of a new “economic Iron Curtain” being erected between the United States and China that will undo the benefits of globalization.
“Unless these broader and deeper issues are addressed, we are in for a long winter in U.S.-China relations,” Paulson told an economic forum.
Navarro said he believed such efforts by Wall Street were not needed by Trump and were counterproductive.
“I would again say, ‘Wall Street, get out of those negotiations,” Navarro said. “Bring your Goldman Sachs money to Dayton, Ohio and invest in America. The president of the United States does not need shuttle diplomacy,” Navarro said.
Asked if he thought the Trump-Xi meeting would lead to a deal or the start of broader talks, Navarro said such negotiations were “not my lane,” and would be led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
But Navarro expressed skepticism whether a deal with China was even possible, adding that in the past, Beijing has never acknowledged U.S. concerns about lack of market access, intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers and unfair state subsidies.
“The game that China has played — and they played people in the Bush administration like a violin — is to do the tap dance of economic dialogue,” Navarro said. “That’s all they want to do. They want to get us to the bargaining table, sound reasonable and talk their way while they keep having their way with us.”
Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Bernadette Baum and Chizu Nomiyama