Trump administration officials are gearing up for a new round of trade talks with Chinese officials at the White House on Thursday after a US trade delegation traveled to China earlier this month.
Axios also reported on tensions during the trip to Beijing, saying Navarro and Mnuchin had a tense exchange over Mnuchin's decision to take part in one-on-one talks with China. The White House official said Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, will attend as well. -China trade imbalance and other problems with the trading relationship.
Mnuchin and Navarro are both very close to Trump, but have much different viewpoints on trade policy.
He traveled to Beijing with Mnuchin and several others earlier this month, but he was largely marginalized during the visit, said the three people familiar with the visit, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the internal dynamics. "China has much to give!"
Navarro, 68, who once published a book entitled "Death by China", has always been hostile to the country. He co-authored a 2011 book entitled "Death by China: Confronting the Dragon - a Global Call to Action", which focused on his perceptions of China's economic policies.
Despite Navarro's struggles internally, he has found himself with a bigger seat at the table since earlier this year, when he was promoted to the position of assistant to the President, coming at a time when Trump has dug back into his nationalist trade instincts.
The talks will start as USTR finishes up public hearings on the first batch of United States tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese goods proposed as punishment for alleged violations of USA intellectual rights.
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But there have been signs China is seeking to add a number of unrelated measures to the trade talks, and Trump has shown a willingness to entertain them.
The lawmakers said the meeting did not address Trump's pledge on Sunday to help Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp get back in business after a Commerce Department ban cut off its supply of USA components.
The Commerce Department in April imposed such severe restrictions on ZTE that the firm could have been forced to close, enraging Chinese leaders. But with China pressing for relief, Trump agreed to help them out, hoping it would ease trade talks.
"The officials said Navarro wasn't a team player when the US sent a delegation led by Mnuchin earlier this month to Beijing to meet with Liu", according to Bloomberg.
Representative Kevin Brady, the committee's Republican chairman, said he aired those concerns at the meeting and urged Liu to keep working with the administration toward a solution.
Navarro has been targeted in the past by administration officials who are uncomfortable with his strong stand on Chinese trade issues. China has threatened to retaliate for the tariffs, which could be imposed after a public comment period ends May 22.