China bashing doesn’t help California

Oct. 26, 2012

By Joseph Perkins

I imagine that Jeremy Potash, executive director of the California-Asia Business Council, winced this week while watching the foreign policy debate between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney.

Her group is trying to increase trade between California, the world’s ninth-largest economy, and China, the world’s second-largest economy.

And it certainly did not help that the president and the governor spent the last 15 minutes of their debate bashing China, each trying to persuade protectionist voters that they’d be tougher on Beijing than his opponent.

The pandering by both Obama and Romney was no doubt driven by polls showing that Americans view China as a threat to their economic well being.

For instance, a survey this past spring by Pew Research Center found that 78 percent of respondents said the large amount of U.S. debt held by China is a “very serious problem” for this country; 71 percent said the same of U.S. job losses China; and 61 percent about our trade deficit with China.

Yet, while our indebtedness to Beijing, our trade deficit with China and our real or imagined job losses to the People’s Republic are legitimate concerns, the very last thing California needs is beef with China and its 1.4 billion consumers.

California exports

Indeed, California exports to Mainland China increased to $14.2 billion in 2011 from $9.7 billion in 2009, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. That’s nearly a 50 percent increase in sales of California goods and services to China in just a three year span. And it was especially welcome during a time the state was recovering from the Great Recession.

California even benefits from all the Chinese-made goods that flow into this country, including the low-priced Chinese-made tires Obama railed against during his meet up with Romney in Boca Raton, Fla.

That’s because the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland handle, among them, 45 percent of the waterborne containerized cargo shipped to the United States. Those Chinese imports support tens of thousands of port-related jobs, including wholesale trade, warehousing and transportation.

Chinese imports also are a boon to California consumers, who are able to save a considerable amount of their disposable incomes by purchasing goods “made in China” for American companies.

That includes California-based companies Apple, whose iPhone is made in China; Gap, which outsources some its clothing manufacturing to China; and Mattel, which entrusts much of its toy making to Chinese elves.

All told, Chinese imports make up less than 3 percent of total U.S. personal consumption, according to a report last year by the Federal Reserve of San Francisco, authored by senior economist Galina Hale and senior research advisor Bart Hobijn.

And of that amount, more than half the value of those “made in China” consumer goods actually redounds to U.S. companies (and their workers). Like Apple and Gap and Mattel.

No state profits as much from trade with China as California.  And no state stands to lose as much if the protectionist banter this week between Obama and Romney is translated into actual trade policy by whichever man the voters elect.


Write a comment
  1. Queeg
    Queeg 26 October, 2012, 11:21

    Love how globalists spin away their days….

    No guilt…..enslaving the little people in China and abusing immigrants in California!

    Reply this comment
  2. a frequent reader
    a frequent reader 26 October, 2012, 11:56

    is that a bash against the 1%? ahh how unfair…


    guess you missed this…(slighty dated, but doubt much has changed)

    Reply this comment
  3. Queeg
    Queeg 26 October, 2012, 15:56

    Who cares about the 1% or the 99%….worry about your family and yourself….. and have a nice day….by the way….your getting cleaned out by globalists…..think on it…4.39 for regular gas……hmmmm

    Reply this comment
  4. a frequent reader
    a frequent reader 26 October, 2012, 21:20

    guess that superstition hasn’t faded one bit…must be the effects of Halloween approaching…what will be to blame after it passes?

    Reply this comment
  5. Lansing
    Lansing 31 October, 2012, 20:22

    I have lived in California since I was born in 1950. My grandfathers and dad were contractors and builder developers. I have seen the prosperous times and now the hard times. We like to blame things on the government or people we elected, but we need to start taking blame as citizens for some of the problem. When I was in high school, I took a class called work experience and worked in a store that was a sort of for runner to K-marts and Walmarts. I worked in the men’s department and started unpacking, men’s, white, short sleeved dress shirts from “Korea”. A few years later, I worked at a Chevrolet agency and we saw some of the first Toyota dealerships. In 1986, I received a degree in Electronics Engineering Technology, only to have most of the electronics computers and hard drives go to Japan to be manufactured. In the 1980’s there seemed to be this mad rush to be rich and famous so people started selling their houses every 5 years to be richer and buy a bigger house, finally 2 or 3 houses. California took on lotteries to pay for schools, then eventually Indian gambling to try and keep up with the rising government costs and union jobs and pensions. In the 1960’s we had jobs in Southern California, there were aircraft factories, steel mills, defense factories like Rohr and Wiley labs. Corona Clipper garden tools were sought all over the world.. Well, if you want to know what is wrong, just open your eyes and look around you. We wear clothes, shoes, drive cars, use computers all made in other countries. All of these industries have trickle down jobs, such as windows, seats and radios and brake drums, clothing needed cotton, nylon factories. Now, now all we have are jobs that are based on money from the government who relies on money from taxing people. When I was young people dressed nice, clothes were made in the USA. Now everybody dresses down and many times sloppy and all the clothes are made in many other countries. So, what do we expect, we are a bunch of slobs who desire cheap stuff from other countries and now there are no jobs. Just look around at the things around us and they are all made by people who have ‘jobs’ in other countries!

    Reply this comment

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