Markets

China trade hawk Navarro is attending the Trump-Xi dinner, source says

Key Points
  • White House trade policy advisor and well-known China hawk Peter Navarro will be attending a crucial meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping this week, a White House official confirmed to CNBC.
  • The South China Morning Post first reported Navarro's attendance, which sent the Dow briefly to its low of the day.
  • Navarro is known for his aggressive stance toward changes in the U.S. trade relationship with China.
White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro
Getty Images

White House trade policy advisor and China hawk Peter Navarro will be attending a crucial meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, a White House official confirmed to CNBC.

His addition to the dinner could be seen as a signal to the Chinese that trade hawks are ascendant inside the administration. Word of his attendance sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly to its low of the day.

The news was first reported by the South China Morning Post. The newspaper had reported last week that Navarro would not attend the Xi-Trump meeting.

VIDEO1:2701:27
Navarro: US-China trade deal will be on President Trump's terms

The closely watched dinner during the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires this week should provide some answers in the escalating trade war between Beijing and Washington.

The two countries are still in the process of finalizing the list of advisors who will take part in the meeting, the South China Morning Post said. The world's two largest economies have struggled to reach a trade deal and de-escalate tensions that have led to increasing tariffs.

Navarro has taken an aggressive stance toward any changes in the U.S. trade relationship with China. Earlier in November, he said a potential deal with China "will be on President Donald J. Trump's terms. Not Wall Street's terms." He added that "there will be a stench around any deal that's consummated" because of Wall Street's involvement. The comments helped drag stocks lower that day.

Trump's top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, disavowed Navarro's comments, telling CNBC "he was not speaking for the president, nor was he speaking for the administration."

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Larry Kudlow says Peter Navarro remarks on Wall Street were way ‘off base’

"I think Peter very badly misspoke," said Kudlow, who took over as director of the National Economic Council earlier this year. "He was freelancing, and he's not representing the president or the administration."

The White House did not immediately return an email requesting comment.

Trump has pushed for Beijing to make changes to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China, and to address alleged Chinese theft of American intellectual property. The president has threatened to put tariffs on another $257 billion in Chinese imports, in addition to the duties already in place on $250 billion in goods.

In response, China has said it would slap taxes on 5,207 U.S. imports worth about $60 billion. The countries had imposed tariffs on $50 billion of each other's goods before sanctions in September.