When President Obama tried to get a “Buy American” clause as part of the “stimulus package” he was met with howls of protest. Meanwhile China has a “buy Chinese” policy for their own government procurement. The policy includes “intellectual property” so America’s “centrist” elites have suddenly noticed.
Robert Samuelson, in The danger behind China’s ‘me first’ worldview, writes,
“It’s become apparent from recent events that America’s political, business and scholarly elites have fundamentally misjudged China.”
Samuelson cites, among other things, China’s undervalued currency and a new “Indigenous Innovation” policy, announced in November.
“Since 1978, China’s economy has increased roughly tenfold. The prevailing American assumption was that as China became richer, its interests and values would converge with those of the United States. China would depend increasingly on a thriving global economy. Freer domestic markets would loosen the stranglehold of the Communist Party. The United States and China would not always agree, but disputes would be manageable.
It isn’t turning out that way.
[. . .] China’s policies reflect a different notion: China First.”
Wow. Judging by the record of this crowd’s timing for seeing the dangers of deregulation, the housing bubble and the massive Reagan/Bush debt, by the time America’s “political, business and scholarly elites” – and Robert Samuelson – recognize a problem the rest of us must be experiencing a full-blown, exploding, catastrophic, earth-shaking, economy-destroying event.
“No longer should we sit passively while China’s trade and currency policies jeopardize jobs here and elsewhere.”
Background: China has been implementing what they call an “Indigenous Innovation” policy to increase their “international competitive ability.” The national policy combines in-house R&D with “external knowledge acquisition.” The policy includes an “Indigenous Innovation Product Accreditation System” which is a catalog of products that receive preference for Chinese government procurement. (A “Buy Chinese” clause for their own stimulus plan and other government purchasing.) The branding and trademarks also have to be Chinese. Companies from outside China have to transfer their R&D to China to qualify.
In late January an influential (they have a lot of money and give a lot to politicians) group of 19 American lobbying organizations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers jointly sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. The letter begins,
“We seek your urgent attention to policy developments in China that pose an immediate danger to U.S. companies. The Chinese government has promulgated a series of “indigenous innovation” programs as part of a long-term plan that threaten to exclude a wide array of U.S. firms from a market that is vital to their future growth and ability to create jobs here at home”
This letter reflects a letter from an international group of business leaders, sent in December to Chinese Ministers, complaining about these policies.
These letters from influential lobbying organizations have caused America’s “centrist” elite to wake up and take notice. Export of our country’s manufacturing and jobs base wasn’t a concern and efforts to do something about it were labelled “protectionist.” but now China is going after the core of the huge multinational corporations, and they are starting to pay attention.
As I pointed out yesterday,
China is just taking care of its own. It should. That is what nations are supposed to do. So to the extent that we still see ourselves as a NATION, we need to take care of OUR own. We need a national economic/industrial strategy, where we say THIS is how WE are going to compete.
If America is still a nation with a democracy we’re going to have to step up to the plate and compete as a country and as a people.