Reposted from Forbes
Eamonn Fingleton | October 8, 2012 | Forbes
President Obama’s ambassador to China, Gary Locke, has been busy trying to soothe American concerns about Chinese trade policies. In Washington recently, he commented: “The thing about China is that there’s a love affair with American goods, products and services.” It is a remark that went unchallenged at the time and has since been taken at face value by various credulous American bloggers. Only in America…..
Locke, reputedly the sixth richest official in the U.S. executive branch and formerly a prominent trade lobbyist, surely knows better. Let the facts speak for themselves (facts that can be checked online at the China page of the CIA Factbook):
* China last year bought only $119 billion from the United States – a derisory sum compared to the $326 billion the United States bought from China and positively insulting given that American exports consisted largely of basic commodities such as wheat, coal, waste paper, and scrap metal.
* Far from being favored in the Chinese market, American goods suffer exceptional discrimination there. Among many other nations whose goods are more welcome is Japan, long China’s largest single source of imports. Even in 2011 when Japan’s export industries were badly hobbled by the Tohoku earthquake, China bought no less than $195 billion worth of Japanese goods – 64 percent more than it bought from the United States. And virtually everything it bought from Japan consisted of advanced manufactures (including most of the precision machines needed to equip Chinese factories). On a per capita basis, the Japanese are more than four times more successful in exporting to China than Americans. All this despite the fact that Japan is supposed to be a political pariah there.
* Even South Korea, which is also supposed to be politically problematic for the Chinese (China is the closest ally of South Korea’s most feared enemy, North Korea), does remarkably better than the United States. With less than one-sixth of the U.S. population, South Korea last year sold nearly 50 percent more to China than the United States did. On a per-capita basis, the Koreans are nine times more successful in exporting to China than Americans.
* Germany, with little more than one-quarter of America’s population, does almost as well as America in the Chinese market.
* As a matter of top-level geopolitical policy, China’s government controlled airline industry favors Europe’s Airbus over Boeing, with the result that America’s last remaining seriously advanced manufacturing business is marginalized in the world’s second largest market.
To find out what’s really going on here and learn Mr. Fingleton’s suggestion for Ambassador Locke, please click here.
Eamonn Fingleton is the author of In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony.