White House trade advisor Peter Navarro on Monday characterized recent reports that the U.S. is considering restrictions on Chinese companies as grossly inaccurate.
“The last time we talked, I proposed ‘Navarro’s Rule,’ which is that any story that comes from anonymous sources is likely to be fake news designed to part a fool from his money,” Navarro told CNBC. “And that story, which appeared in Bloomberg, I’ve read it far more carefully than it was written.”
“Over half of it was highly inaccurate or simply flat-out false,” he said.
Multiple news outlets, including CNBC, on Friday reported that the White House is in the early stages of weighing restrictions on U.S. investments in China. Such measures could include a block of all American investment in the country, a person familiar with the talks told CNBC.
Bloomberg News first reported last week that President Donald Trump’s administration is considering limits to U.S. investors’ portfolio flows into China, including delisting Chinese companies from American stock exchanges.
Despite claiming that the majority of the Bloomberg story was inaccurate, Navarro refrained from disputing any specific claim within the report. A Bloomberg News spokesperson told CNBC that it stands by its reporting.
“It was really irresponsible journalism and the problem we have here … these bad stories push out the good,” Navarro said Monday on “Squawk Box.” “And what happens is, as soon as Bloomberg puts it out there, there’s pressure from others to put it out there.”
“This story was just so full of inaccuracies. And in terms of the truth of the matter, what the Treasury said, I think, was accurate,” he said.
A Treasury spokeswoman over the weekend, meanwhile, said “the administration is not contemplating blocking Chinese companies from listing shares on U.S. stock exchanges at this time.”
Reports of White House discussion on restrictions to U.S.-China investments come as the administration looks for additional levers of influence in trade talks, which resume Oct. 10 in Washington.
Both countries have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other’s goods over the last two years, with the U.S. imposing fresh taxes of 15% on Chinese goods starting Sept. 1. Those tariffs affect clothing, tools and electronics; a retaliatory round of Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods impacted soybeans, oil and pharmaceuticals.
Navarro, a known hawk among Trump’s trade counselors, said earlier this month that he was certain that Congress would ratify the administration’s landmark United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement before the end of 2019.
The importance of the accords within the USMCA, he argued at the time, guaranteed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would make the agreement’s approval a priority before the end of December. Since those comments, however, House Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump over his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The impeachment proceedings, Trump warned on Sept. 25, cast doubt on whether Pelosi will either be able to gather enough support to grant the president a political win or find enough time to take a vote.
“I don’t know if Nancy Pelosi’s going to have any time to sign it,” Trump said Wednesday, adding that he believes the House leader is wasting her time on a “manufactured crisis.”