Washington, March 28 (IANS) US President Donald Trump said that economist Peter Navarro will coordinate the use of the Defense Production Act (DPA), a wartime law the former recently invoked to cope with the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Announcing the decision at the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force news briefing on Friday, Trump said “my order establishes that Peter will serve as national Defense Production Act policy coordinator for the federal government”, reports Xinhua news agency.
The President said Navarro has been undertaking the job over the last few weeks, but the appointment, contained in an executive order the president signed earlier in the day, made his new title official.
Navarro, 70, currently serves as Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, a body Trump established within the White House in 2017.
The President signed an executive order on March 18 invoking the DPA, amid the drastically deteriorating coronavirus situation the country.
In the context of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the law authorizes the President to require companies to boost supplies of medical goods such as respirators and ventilators – items of which several states are facing a shortage as confirmed cases of the new coronavirus surged beyond 100,000 nationwid.
According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US now stands at 104,007, with 1,706 deaths.
Passed by Congress in 1950 as a response to the Korean War, the DPA gives the President the authority to direct companies to increase the production of national defenCe-related items.
It also entitles the President to control the distribution of supplies deemed critical.