After China resumed sovereignty of Hong Kong and Macau in 1997 and 1999 respectively, the Communist Party decided they would not kill the chicken with the golden eggs. They came up with the brilliant principle of “one country, two systems”. That meant that part of China would be administered as a centralized communist state, and part of China would follow the rules of supply and demand capitalism.
As a result of this economic and political policy, Hong Kong has a different system from mainland China. Hong Kong’s independent judiciary functions under the common law framework. Hong Kong Basic Law, its constitutional document, stipulates that Hong Kong shall have a “high degree of autonomy” in all matters except foreign relations and military defense.
Hong Kong is a world city. It is one of the Alpha+ cities and is considered as the fifth most important city in the world, after New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. A 2008 Time Magazine article coined the phrase “Nylonkong“, which referred to New York City, London and Hong Kong as a powerful global network that facilitates the global economy. As one of the world’s leading international financial centers, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterized by low taxation and free trade, and the currency, the Hong Kong dollar, is the eighth most traded currency in the world.
In an effort to expand its international trade and ferociously compete with other countries, China joined the WTO (World Trade Organization) in 2001 with the strong support of Bill Clinton who said this event would create jobs in America and increase exports to China. Wishful thinking. It was just the opposite. Following the law of physics, that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, China began to flood American markets with illegally subsidized exports.
American corporations such as Apple, Intel, Honeywell, Cisco, GM, Boeing and Caterpillar, just to name a few, began to move their factories from the United States to China in an effort to lower their manufacturing costs. As a result, 57,000 American factories evaporated in the U.S. killing 5.5 million manufacturing jobs in the process. For example, Apple employs 26,000 people in the U.S. to design their products, but employs more than 700,00 Chinese workers at Foxconn. Even white collar workers are slowly migrating to China to support the increasing manufacturing industry.
In a lapse of only two decades, the U.S. now owes more than $3 trillion to China and American exports of manufacturing consumer goods doesn’t have a heartbeat. It’s in a deplorable state of coma. Political and economic experts are saying that the growing power and global ambitions of China represent a genuine threat to America’s own future.
Mass-produced consumer goods are made in China. Some of these products are computers, cellphones, circuit boards, shoes, printers, microwave ovens and so forth. China is currently a huge factory producing products for the world. Walmart spent $50 billion in China to stock their stores in the United States. This is a staggering number. Ninety-one percent of products sold in a Walmart store are made in China.
Competing with China is very difficult because they don’t follow fair trade practices. Let’s take a look at some of China’s cheating practices:
- Currency manipulation (underpricing their currency) to make Chinese products cheaper and thus flood international markets.
- Illegal export subsidies
- Slave labor/child labor. Forced labor camps manufacture rubber boots and Christmas lights for free.
- Counterfeiting and piracy
- Junk production (poison paint on toys for children)
- Climate pollution
China is responsible for dramatic changes in the world’s climate. Huge dust plumes from China cause global climate changes. An outpouring of dust layered with man-made sulfates, smog, industrial fumes, carbon grit and nitrates is crossing the Pacific Ocean on prevailing winds from booming Asian economies in plumes so vast they they alter global climate. These rivers of polluted air are wider than the Amazon River and deeper than the Grand Canyon. One tainted export from China can’t be avoided in the United States—air.
The situation is not much different in Panama. More than 80 percent of consumer products sold in Panamanian stores originate in China. My Vaio laptop, Canon cameras, Apple iPad, LG television set, Apple TV box, Florsheim shoes, pajamas, and Panasonic wireless phone system are all made in China. The problem is you can’t find consumer products “Made in USA” anymore. We are absolutely out of options. Everything is made in China. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a Ho-Ho-Ho Chinese Santa Claus under our Christmas tree this year. Good Day.