Politics

Peter Navarro's alter ego 'Ron Vara' shares pro-tariff memo amid US-China trade talks

Key Points
  • Donald Trump's trade advisor Peter Navarro sends out a pro-tariff memo using the pseudonym "Ron Vara," which CNBC obtains Wednesday.
  • The memo is circulated around Washington days before a Sunday deadline to impose additional 15% tariffs on about $160 billion in Chinese exports to the U.S.
  • The deadline approaches as Washington and Beijing continue to grapple in negotiations over a so-called phase one deal, the details of which are still unclear.
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WH Adviser Peter Navarro uses 'alter ego' Ron Vara to push tariffs

Only a few days are left for the U.S. to decide whether to slap more tariffs on Chinese imports, and White House trade advisor Peter Navarro is weighing in — under the pseudonym "Ron Vara," according to a memo he penned that CNBC obtained Wednesday.

Navarro confirmed to The New York Times that he wrote the memo, which is circulating around Washington. The Times first reported the memo earlier Wednesday.

In the memo, sent from an email belonging to Ron Vara — an anagram of Navarro — President Donald Trump's trade advisor considers the "Keep Tariffs Argument."

Navarro, as Vara, claims that U.S. import duties "are working to defend [the] economy and have had no negative impacts on growth or stock market rise." In fact, tariffs "spur growth by improving Net Exports in [the] GDP equation," he writes.

Navarro's alter ego also argues that the White House — where he works — should "get uncertainty out of the market by announcing NO deal until after the election and ride the tariffs to victory."

White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro
Getty Images

The memo was sent days before a Sunday deadline to impose additional 15% tariffs on about $160 billion in Chinese exports to the U.S. The deadline approaches as Washington and Beijing continue to grapple in negotiations over a so-called phase one deal, the details of which are still unclear.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported in October that Navarro has repeatedly quoted the Ron Vara character in his own books. Navarro told the Chronicle at the time that Vara was a "whimsical device and pen name I've used throughout the years for opinions and purely entertainment value, not as a source of fact."

Navarro, a staunch protectionist and China hawk, has reportedly fought against the phase one China trade deal from behind the scenes, CNBC reported in October.

Navarro has taken particular issue with the shelving of certain protections for intellectual property and technology that appeared in earlier versions of the deal, sources told CNBC.

Neither the White House nor Navarro immediately responded to CNBC's request for comment.