Importance of China Economy to US; Dangers of Protectionism
I often read lame fluff news stories on Yahoo, then read the comments below where persons make comments such as "we need to bring home jobs by placing large tariffs on cheap Chinese goods".
Let me address the short sightedness and dangers of these sadly widespread protectionist views;
- Charging higher tariffs only hurts the US consumer that would not be able to live the lifestyle they currently can due to these low priced goods.
- Do we really want the jobs that China "takes" from the US? As someone that has professionally dealt with China and also has worked/managed production lines, I would venture to say NO. I would rather we provide jobs that design the products, which are better paying and are vastly more enjoyable & stimulating than a job standing in the same place all day long with a soldering gun or similar.
As well I know for a fact that these goods provide jobs for shippers (such as FedEx whom I use), or overseas shipping lines, workers at ports, and the many distributors and retailers of these goods.
I will note that we do need a good heavy industrial base for a healthy economy to at least fall back on, however most of the factories in China are not producing these types of goods, rather commodities such as Aquarium Pumps or Aquarium Lighting products, an example being: T2 Aquarium Lights that are not essential to our industrial base and are more of a "luxury" item.
Product Example/Information links from my business:
*Aquarium and Pond Water, Air Pump
*T2 Aquarium Lights
My point is here that our industrial base was able to ramp up quickly early during World War 2 and many are concerned (rightfully so in my opinion) that we could not today. However much of what we import from China is non essential commodities (such as Lighting) that in my opinion are not as important to our industrial base.
We still generally lead the world in essential food production, aviation, medicines, and many software and other technologies.
What do need to improve is to clamp down on piracy by the Chinese on our technologies and maybe identify true essential commodities imported from China (& elsewhere) and increase tariffs on these goods, not the knickknacks sold at Walmart and many items we use for non essential hobbies (such as aquarium keeping).
- Are all Chinese goods cheap?
This is often a laughable false assumption that many persons believe.
While this can be true, this can also be true of US or even German Goods (in the 1870's made in Germany was a sign of bad quality).
It really comes down to what the company here in the US is willing to pay and understanding that the Chinese do business in a different way than we do in the US.
An example to what i am saying (& this is not just my opinion either, rather many professionals experienced in trade with China):
If you bargain for Widget A that is offered at say $1 usd, and get an agreement to produce this product at .75 cents; here in the US you likely will get this same product for .25 cents cheaper for a better deal for your company and consumers.
However from mine and others experience, this same deal in China generally results in an item literally produced for 25% less cost and of coarse quality suffers.
From my business and others I know in the business community, this is what generally happens with many of the "Cheap" Chinese goods sold here in the US or elsewhere.
Often this results in the plethora of low quality LEDs lights versus first quality such as the TMC LED Aquarium Lights, simply due to expired patents for emitters that are then utilized in cheaper Chinese LEDs (although as noted earlier, patent and copyright infringement IS an issue that needs to be addressed).
Here is a link to arguably the BEST Aquarium LED Lights (out of the UK):
Aquarium LED Lights, Lighting
The bottom line is there are excellent Chinese Products when one is willing to pay for them, as I learned the hard way with low cost T2 Aquarium Lights before I stopped purchasing "bargained for" T2 Lights.
In fact I have seen no lower quality when full production costs are paid with UV Bulbs from certain China factories versus popular European versions.
See this product link, which includes premium European and Chinese UV Bulbs:
UV-C Replacement Bulb, Page 1
- If the Chinese economy were to slow down or worse, collapse; who is going to buy all the United States debt? Germany is busy bailing out Greece and we cannot seem to stop spending money we do not have, but is the fault of China, I do not think so.
Until our debt is paid, I do not think placing high tariffs on Chinese goods is the answer, it would only result in a snowball effect of higher prices to US consumers, thus slowing sales further, as well as no ability to finance our National debt.
This is not to say that an increase in consumption in China would not help either, as domestic consumption in China is about 30% to 40% gross domestic product. In contrast to the United States domestic consumption makes up 60% to 70% of gross domestic product.
Reference: The coming economic crisis in China; Page 3).
In Summary, this article is NOT meant as a defense of China policies, such as human rights, international copyright/patent piracy, manipulating currency, etc. However I just think common sense needs to be used and sadly both Democrats AND Republicans (as well as Libertarians) often do not exercise this much needed common sense.
Isolationist policies are NOT healthy for OUR economy. They have not worked in the past and in a more interconnect world economy are even more dangerous now!
Any politician that thinks otherwise has lost my vote, regardless of party affiliation!
As well our "Drive By" Media needs to stop scaring their viewers/readers with stories that imply these incorrect views.
Maybe George Stephanopoulos, Donald Trump, & others should try working at a factory that puts together lights, basic water pumps, circuit boards, etc if they think these jobs are so great, I know I and my employees would much rather be selling, designing, and educating consumers about these products than working on the assembly line producing these at a fraction of what they are paid here!