President-elect Donald Trump announced Friday afternoon the formation of a new tool in his effort to improve U.S. trade policy and to bolster job prospects in the nation's manufacturing sector.
The focus of the White House National Trade Council will be to advise the president on strategies in trade negotiations and coordinate with other agencies to assess U.S. manufacturing capabilities and the "defense industrial base." It will also help match unemployed American workers with new opportunities in the skilled manufacturing sector.
The NTC will also be tasked with leading the president-elect's "Buy America, Hire America" program to ensure the promise is fulfilled in government procurement and projects ranging from infrastructure to national defense. Additionally, it will work with the National Security Council, the National Economic Council and the Domestic Policy Council to fulfill Trump's vision of peace and prosperity through military and economic strength.
A statement from the Presidential Transition Team noted:
"The formation of the National Trade Council further demonstrates the President-elect's determination to make American manufacturing great again and to provide every American the opportunity to work in a decent job at a decent wage ... 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 has selected Dr. Peter Navarro, an economist and professor at the University of California-Irvine, to lead the NTC. He earned his doctoral degree in economics from Harvard and has been a leading voice challenging the Washington, D.C., orthodoxy of 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."
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Navarro worked with Secretary of Commerce-designate Wilbur Ross to develop and communicate the president-elect's vision to bring back America's manufacturing wealth. In a statement following the nomination, Ross said Navarro is the best person Trump could have picked to lead the new NTC, saying they will make a great team in the administration.
"I am deeply honored for the opportunity to serve the President-elect and this nation and to advise on policies to re-balance our trade, rebuild our industrial base, and restore America's comprehensive national power by making America great again," Navarro said.
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