The unveiling of President-elect Trump’s White House trade office is the latest reminder to Republican free traders that there is a new sheriff in town.

Most reports focus on the fact that Peter Navarro, the head of the new National Trade Council, is a “fierce China critic.” That’s true. But he is also a departure from the free-trade orthodoxy that has at least in theory dominated the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan.

In fact, Trump credits Navarro for helping to inform his own views about the need to get tough with international trade partners and reduce trade deficits.

“I read one of Peter’s books on America’s trade problems years ago and was impressed by the clarity of his arguments and thoroughness of his research,” Trump said in a statement announcing the appointment Wednesday. “He will fulfill an essential role in my administration as a trade advisor.”

Navarro’s belief that cutting trade deficits will increase economic growth conflicts with the bipartisan consensus in Washington. But many economic conservatives would balk at half of his portfolio within the administration: director of trade and industrial policy.

“Industrial policy” is not normally a phrase associated with a market-friendly administration. George Will complained in September that Trump was repudiating limited government, saying “his trade policy is liberalism’s ‘industrial policy’ repackaged for faux conservatives comfortable with presidents dictating what Americans can import and purchase at what prices, and where U.S. corporations can operate.”

Many of Trump’s recent Cabinet picks have reassured conservatives, as has the thawing of his relations with House Speaker Paul Ryan and the major role Vice President-elect Mike Pence is poised to play in the new administration.

But the Cabinet is not always the center of power inside an administration, especially as tasks are delegated to officials who operate with a lower profile or work in White House staff positions that don’t require Senate confirmation.

There was already confusion about the role of Trump’s U.S. trade representative, amid reports that Wilbur Ross, his nominee for secretary of commerce, will oversee trade policy. Normally, the trade representative takes the lead in negotiations. Now Ross and Navarro occupy key places at the table.

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Ross is a booster of Trump’s view that multilateral trade agreements produce bad outcomes for the United States and bilateral deals would be preferable. The billionaire invested heavily in steel companies, which in some cases have benefited from trade protections.

Opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership is one thing. Depending on which factions have the most influence over the new administration, this could signal a more activist view of the government’s potential to keep American companies and jobs from moving overseas.

Trump himself has repeatedly said employers can’t move American jobs offshore “without consequences.” He won the presidency by carrying Rust Belt states that have suffered from industrial decline and the disappearance of manufacturing jobs, including states that haven’t voted Republican at the presidential level since the 1980s.

Ideology aside, Trump owes those voters. They rejected Hillary Clinton on jobs, wages and trade. And keeping those states in the Republican column is a promising medium-term strategy for the party to remain competitive in presidential elections without making significant inroads among demographic groups that have been trending Democratic in recent years.

Rank-and-file Republican voters have been shifting against free trade, especially as Trump has risen. But there have been pockets of resistance within the party to the standard GOP trade policy for years. The 1996, 2008 and 2012 runners-up for the presidential nomination (Pat Buchanan, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum) each deviated from it to varying degrees. Even free traders like Reagan and George W. Bush imposed stiff tariffs at times.

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House Republicans have already resisted a “Buy American” provision in a water infrastructure bill. Conservatives criticized it as a protectionist measure, but Trump has made “Buy American, Hire American” a cornerstone of his economic policy.

Trump and Ryan have worked closely together to come up with a cohesive Republican agenda, taking advantage of the fact the party will control both the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade. A lot of conservative disenchantment with the GOP stems from how little there was to show for unified Republican government from 2005 to 2007.

Yet the potential exists for conflict between Trump and Ryan on issues like trade, industrial policy and the precise shape of the incoming president’s infrastructure plan. Trump may not simply be a signature machine for bills passed by the Republican Congress.

“Trump doesn’t owe the free-market intelligentsia anything,” a Republican strategist said. On infrastructure in particular, he could tailor his plan to suit conservative sensibilities — there have been signs he is backing off the $1 trillion figure for its price tag, at least as concerns public expenditures as opposed to private investment — or he could cut a deal with the Democrats.

Trump’s victory averted full-scale internecine warfare over the Republican Party’s future, but it didn’t make all policy disagreements disappear overnight.

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