Navarro contradicts Mnuchin's assertion that trade war with China is on hold

Navarro contradicts Mnuchin's assertion that trade war with China is on hold
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White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro is contradicting Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Graham clash over Iran policy Liz Cheney calls for 'proportional military response' against Iran MORE's assertion that the U.S. trade war with China is on hold.

Navarro, in an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep broadcast Wednesday, took issue with both the characterization of the situation as a trade war, and the notion that it is on hold.

"That was an unfortunate sound bite," Navarro said, referring to Mnuchin's remark.

"What we're having with China is a trade dispute, fair and simple," he said. "We lost the trade war long ago."

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Last week, Mnuchin said “we are putting the trade war on hold."

"Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework,” the Treasury secretary added.

The Trump administration, however, signaled this week that it is moving ahead with 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, and installing a slew of new restrictions on investments and visas.

The latest threat to impose restrictions come ahead of Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerOn The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead MORE's trip to China for negotiations on the relationship between Beijing and Washington, which is planned for this weekend.

Navarro told NPR that the Trump administration is working to prevent China from stealing American intellectual property and evading export controls on militarily sensitive technology.

He demurred, however, when asked about the administration's position on Chinese telecom firm ZTE, saying it was a law enforcement matter upon which he could not comment.

"It doesn't fit with your strategy," NPR's Inskeep pointed out.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE has moved to allow ZTE to restart its U.S. business dealings after the Commerce Department dealt it a crippling blow, hitting the firm with a massive fine and banning it from buying American components.

The company had broken American sanctions by selling components to North Korea and Iran, and intelligence agencies were concerned that it was compromising American telecom networks.