News / USA

    Americans Remain Divided on China Trade Issue

    In this election year, both U.S. presidential candidates are making China, and trade, an issue. With the unemployment rate above 8 percent, some Americans blame China for the loss of factory jobs. But other Americans say trade with China benefits the U.S.

    For more than 30 years, David Bibona and his brother have been building their parts production business. He says in recent years it hasn't been easy.

    "We might have been able to grow our company maybe three or five fold," he says.

    "Might have been" if he wasn't competing with China, where production is cheaper.

    "It’s very difficult to assemble the partnerships it takes sometimes to produce thousands of parts near the price that China does," explains Bibona.

    As President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, battle for the White House, trade with China has become a political issue. Obama says Romney shut factories as a businessman and shipped jobs to China.

    Romney, on the other hand, counters that Obama has been soft on China, which he says uses unfair trade practices.

    Business professor Peter Navarro, at the University of California-Irvine, wants to make China and trade laws an even bigger political issue. He says the U.S. cannot compete because of China's illegal production subsidies and accuses China of manipulating its currency.

    "In 2001 we let China into our markets here in the United States and,since that time, we've shut down over 50,000 factories, lost 6 million manufacturing jobs," Novarro says, " we've got 25 million people in this country that can't find a decent job, and we now owe $3 trillion to the world's largest totalitarian nation."

    Navarro is taking his message to the big screen by writing, directing and producing the documentary, Death by China.

    The professor calls for trade reform with China, such as rules limiting trade with countries that do not follow international labor standards for wages and hours worked.

    "Free trade by the rules, both countries can win. Free trade by China's rules, only China wins," he says.

    Navarro also wants consumers to think about China's history of human rights abuses and the lack of quality control in Chinese products before buying them.

    Some Americans, like Linda Paquette, boycott goods that are made in China.

    "It’s about all of us as a people against anything that is repressive and unfair and dangerous and undemocratic," she says.

    But not all Americans think doing business with China is a bad thing.

    At the Port of Los Angeles, officials say jobs are being created, in large part as a result of increased trade with China. Electrician Jeremy Rosique says that is why he's been able to stay employed.

    "Absolutely right. Here with what we're doing, yes it benefits us," Rosique says.

    Port official Phillip Sanfield says there are 1.2 million port-related jobs in California.  Sixty percent of the imports come from China, while a third of the exports go there.

    "So all of these jobs we currently have here at the port, a lot of that has to do with the trade we do with China," Sanfield explains.

    International economist Ferdinando Guerra says while there is still an imbalance between imports and exports, there is a shift, with growth in American exports such as agricultural products and wine.

    "Fifteen percent to 20 percent increases over the last few years [in exports]. That will continue to be the trend as China's middle class grows," he notes.

    Guerra also says Americans benefit from all the products made in China.

    "We've been able to control inflation as a result of cheap Chinese goods coming into the United States," he says.

    Guerra acknowledges that Chinese imports hurt some Americans, but he says declaring a trade war is not the solution. Rather, he says the way to help the U.S. economy is to increase trade with China.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: The Protectionist
    September 03, 2012 9:36 AM
    Karl Marx said the fastest way to destroy capitalism is with free trade. Daniel Webster said the main reason we have our Constitution is to stop free trade. Lincoln and party were protectionists until 1960s. Oddly, China adopts Lincoln's logic and we adopt Marx's. An engineer has attempted to make sense of Lincoln's logic with a new theory of economics: rescuingeconomics.wordpress.com

    by: john from: german
    August 31, 2012 9:49 PM
    you're willing to show that hurts US, while you refuse to show that benefits US, is that fair to China? So far as I know, China are eager to buy so many things from US, while the America refuse to sold them. If the US really want to help himself, just open to the world and clear the block set by yourself. You can learn from German and France on this point, see how they are doing.
    In Response

    by: james from: ca
    September 03, 2012 6:45 PM
    History suggests that exporting such equipment to China is not a long term winning proposal. You can't compare Germany with a solid industrial policy and relatively small consumer market to America which lacks any coherent industrial policy and has massive open consumer market others want to enter.

    Export controls are probably the only thing keeping a number of industries from moving to China. Some of America's largest remaining technology industries are also its most protected. If companies are allowed to export these products to China you will soon find they are offered large subsidies and are coerced into moving production to China, as has happened to so many other high tech American industries. The end result is a larger trading deficit with China and loss of further industry in America. The only way to prevent this sort of abuse is the implementation of a strong industrial policy that makes it a legal nightmare to transfer factories and technical know-how to a predatory competitor.
    In Response

    by: Rick from: China
    September 02, 2012 12:35 PM
    I completely agree with these views. Both China and Germany have conducted effective cooperation based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits. Americans accuse China use unfair trade practices. But US restrictions on high-technology exports to China is complained by China also.

    by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
    August 31, 2012 4:46 PM
    China appears to work on a 40 year cycle. Dating this from chairman Mao, it has some 15 years to run. Chinese workers have no concept of time. They are not as productive or skilled as western economy workers. It's just there are more of them. Western economies are strangled by vested interest and bureaucracy, but soon as china catches up it will be relegated behind western economies once again.China remains the sick man of the east and it's government has no idea of how to behave decently in the world.

    by: Peter Navarro from: Irvine CA
    August 31, 2012 11:19 AM
    The LA Port Jobs issue is literally a red herring. If we had more balanced trade with China, we would be exporting a lot more goods out of the LA port instead of sending empty containers back.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    September 01, 2012 12:47 AM
    Since we're talking about red herrings, human rights and international trade, eh?
    In Response

    by: Jake from: Canada
    August 31, 2012 6:54 PM
    Maybe the US should take a lesson from the Germans!

    Export more high value products, the ones the Chinese want to buy.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora