The administration of President Donald Trump wants manufacturing jobs to make up about a fifth of the American workforce, said Peter Navarro, tapped by Trump to lead the newly created National Trade Council.
Navarro told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday that part of his job at the National Trade Council is matching the needs of industry with the skills of U.S. workers.
"We envision a more Germany-style economy, where 20 percent of our workforce is in manufacturing," he said. "And we're not talking about banging tin in the back room."
"We're talking about high technology across the board, whether it's computer chips or cars or anything in between," said Navarro, a Trump campaign policy advisor and formerly a business professor at the University of California, Irvine.
President Trump's executive order this week to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership and his stated intent to renegotiate NAFTA are moves away from many-nation free trade agreements, said Navarro.
"Multilaterals, you get hundreds of people and thousands of lobbyists and lawyers. It takes years and years and years," he contended.
Earlier Wednesday on "Squawk Box," Bill Daley, former Commerce secretary under Bill Clinton, said an exit from the TPP without engaging Asian trading partners would leave the door open for China.
Navarro rejected that notion, saying Trump wants to pursue what he considers more nimble bilateral trade agreements. "I strongly agree that bilaterals can occur much more quickly, because basically, it's just a few people in a room talking about what needs to be done."
"As we're negotiating with one country here, we're going to be negotiating with one country here, and another country here," Navarro said.