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China: manufacturer for the world? With vast amounts of slave labor to employ and the help of Western corporate leaders to build manufacturing plants, China is fast becoming the manufacturer for the world.

In a gambit few could have predicted, China is becoming a foil in the game to create a North American Union. Since the liberalization of China's economy after the Tiananmen Square massacre, China's manufacturing sector has shifted into high gear.

According to some, the upsurge in China's economy is the reason why the Mexican economy has not performed better since the signing of NAFTA. "The 'giant sucking sound' Ross Perot used to talk about is back, only this time it is not Mexico sucking away American jobs. It is China sucking away Mexico's jobs," William Greider, the national affairs correspondent for The Nation, wrote in that magazine in 2001. This, Greider argued, could provide an impetus to integrate Mexico and the United States. "This is an opportunity to change the politics in both countries," he wrote. "The relationship would borrow a lot from the European Union's economic integration of rich and poor nations ranging from wealthy Germany to low-wage Portugal and Spain. The European Union delivers substantial aid conditioned on democratic standards and labor rights, implicitly encouraging rising wages in the poorer countries .... A North American union, in addition to North/South development aid, would require concrete legal obligations: If U.S. taxpayers are asked to invest in Mexico's future, U.S. commerce cannot be allowed to enjoy NAFTA benefits, then pick up and leave whenever it sees fit." Greider has not been alone in seeing Mexican competition with the Chinese as a rationale for forming a North American Union (NAU).

This has been noted as well by Robert Pastor, the chief intellectual architect of the current scheme to create the NAU. Discussing the options for deepening the integration of the North American nations in the article "North America's Second Decade," in the January/February 2004 issue of Foreign Affairs, Pastor alleged that several types of "reform" in U.S. policy would be needed. "The reforms," he said, "would also make Mexico more competitive with China."

China has had a devastating effect not only on the Mexican economy but, more importantly, on the American economy. Twenty-five years ago, our nation could point to 19 million manufacturing jobs. The number today has shrunk to less than 14 million. Jobs are going overseas at an increasingly rapid rate, mostly to China. A look at what has occurred in the textile industry alone is instructive. According to the National Council of Textile Organizations, China now controls half of the U.S. apparel market in product areas where quotas have been removed.

It's reasonable to wonder how a communist-led nation could become an economic power. The answer is that, by itself, it could never have accomplished what it has done. China has become a significant producer because U.S.-based corporate interests have infused it with money, infrastructure, technology, and business savvy. They have even moved their plants to China. They have done so, in large part, because they have been actively encouraged to do so by the U.S. Commerce Department; because their China ventures are bankrolled by U.S. taxpayer-subsidized entities such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; because their loans are guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank, a U.S. government agency; and because heavy U.S. taxes and regulations add significantly to the cost of manufacturing goods in the United States.

U.S. government officials not only encourage the export of American jobs and industry to China, they even ignore existing U.S. law. Last month, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) brushed off the AFL-CIO's call for an investigation into labor practices in China. Pointing to a 1974 law that restricts trade with countries who enslave their workers, the labor giant tried to have restrictions placed on Chinese imports. They received a rebuff by the USTR. The USTR's spokesman, Sean Spicer, was forced to admit the existence of "serious concerns with labor rights and working conditions in China," but he refused to initiate any action.

A "Background" paper issued by USTR claims that "data compiled by China's National Bureau of Statistics suggests that real wages, adjusted for inflation, rose 10-11 percent per year between 1996 and 2004." But the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that manufacturing workers in China receive the equivalent of 57 cents per hour. Manufacturing and Technology News calculated that increasing a wage of 57 cents per hour by 11 percent per year would take until 2037 to bring a Chinese laborer to the $16.08 U.S. pay level for manufacturing workers. By then, sad to say, there wouldn't be many manufacturing workers left in the United States. And the AFL-CIO even claims that China's 57-cent per hour wage rate is for urban workers only, not for the lower-paid migrant workers who comprise the vast majority of China's labor force.

In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) distributed deceptive indications that no real problem exists as to the loss of American jobs. Columnist Paul Craig Roberts noted that a July report from BLS listed 113,000 new jobs. The administration exulted over the new jobs. But, wrote Roberts, "all are in services" such as waitresses, bartenders, educators, health workers, and business service personnel. During the same month, manufacturing lost 15,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, China is awash in dollars earned via its manufacturing and exports to our nation. This enormous flood of profits has been used to purchase U.S. businesses and infrastructure. More and more of our country is being sold to Beijing, a nation that has never renounced its long-standing threat to conquer America. Where the threat formerly consisted of military saber rattling, it is now largely economic in nature.

The American dream is fading. The long tradition of wealth being created here is disappearing and, even worse, what is still here is being transferred overseas. The leaders we elect to keep America vibrantly alive are either asleep or contributing to the downturn. Americans who want to preserve that dream must rein in their leaders.
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Title Annotation:CHINA
Author:McManus, John F.
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Oct 2, 2006
Words:999
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