Made in China?

Right now, the markets are focused on two stories: the continuing unwinding of the sub-prime mess and the increasing number of recalls of products made in China. At this point, the roiling of the financial markets is the bigger of these two stories. However, the drum beat of negative press about China may have equally significant consequences going forward. With stories such as “More Ripples From Chinese Product Troubles,” (New York Times, August 15), and “Tainted Imports: Are You Next?” (BusinessWeek SmallBiz, Aug/Sept 2007), and even recent posts on the HuffingtonPost (gasp!), the chorus has been growing that China, in more ways than one, represents a threat to the United States. If it’s not currency “manipulation” then it’s unsafe products, from tires to pet food to toys. Already, there is legislation being prepared that would take a harder line against China and the twin effects of currency and the trade deficit. Whatever version of the bill actually gets passed is likely to be more muted than the rhetoric, but the very fact of it demonstrates the growing anti-Chinese sentiment that is almost certain to get worse before it gets better.

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