Thursday, the White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro urged people not to get “hung up” in the day-to-day news of what China says it plans to do, following reports the country is preparing a new policy that will promise greater access for foreign countries.
“I would focus on March 1, when we’ll have a complete offer from China that will be negotiated behind closed doors, not on the front page of The Wall Street Journal,” Mr. Navarro said in a national TV interview.
The WS-J reported that China is ready to replace the Made in China 2025 program, which outlines President Xi’s plan to make the country a leader in robotics, clean-energy cars, information, and other high tech industries.
The new plan would both tone down China’s goal of dominating manufacturing while leaving the country open to other nations’ trade.
Mr. Navarro said the “real action” is taking place behind closed doors, as it should with “tough negotiators” such as US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Announcements such as policy changes should be done in the negotiating room, continued Navarro, rather than as a campaign by China to “make everything look good.”
“From our point of view, what we must do is hold fast, stay tight, and focus on the prize,” said Mr. Navarro. “The prize for this country and for the world and for China really is complete structural reform to put an end to all these practices which are disrupting the global economy.”
China does pose a security threat to the United States, Navarro said, pointing to a recent data breach with the Marriott (NYSE:MAR) hotel chain.
“We’re going to be tough and smart about this,” said Mr. Navarro. “It is trust but verify. The problem in a cyber world, though, with cyber intrusions is that it is very hard to verify and this attack.”
If it turns out that China attacked Mariott in a recent data break, that would be a “classic” tactic, said Mr.Navarro.
“What they like to do is do a phishing attack, get into your servers and then they sit there, not for days, not for months, but often for years,” he said. “They watch the flow of data. They get information from that.”