February 28, 2011 Dylan Ratigan

Fixing the U.S. Trade Problems

MetalMiner’s Lisa Reisman and Daniel McGroarty of the Carmot Strategic Group debate how the U.S. should handle outsourcing of jobs to China.

 

MSNBC TRANSCRIPT:

>>> a lot of american companies established in china, the multinationals you speak of. now they have the factories there they’ve been chin chinese companies. they’re lob bying in america.

>> that our friend peter morici at the port of oakland talking about the lopsided trade policy with china. they tax our goods ten times what we tax theirs. 25% to 2.5%. most notably they subsidize their certainurrency by 50%. our trade deficit costs us 2.9 million jobs. not dollars. 2.9 million jobs in 2009 and 3.5 million more2010. meanwhile, the government is supposed to get us excited when we add 50,000 to 100,000 against a vampire flow like the one i just described. at the port of los angeles, which is the largest port in our nation, chinese goods now account for 40% of all the containers that cross those docks. you know what they look like. that compares to a 5% count from 1990. nothing wrong with trade, but when it comes there a rigged game that costs our own country its own guts, its own structure, its own economy, for the profit of a few, that seems worthy of some conversation. and we are joined now by lisa reisman, co-founder of metalminder. and principal at strategic group in chicago for a forum on manufacturing and trade policy. lisa, when you hear the number of jobs and look at the amount of money leaving our country and those jobs, what are your thoughts?

>> well, they certainly, it’s a disturbing trend on the job front. we also look at the deficit in general and that’s also, it’s very disturbing and a lot of it we see is played out in some of the export taxes and that rebate changes that occur so frequently within china for our goods and for the goods, i should say for the goods that we purchase. i think it’s disturbing. i’m not sure that trend is set to change any time soon.

>> why not?

>> i don’t know that we’re going to do anything policy-wise that’s really going to have the kind of impact that i think companies, some companies, are looking to have. it’s a complicated problem. i think it also stems deep into consumer spending. u.s. consumer spending. we buy a lot of things that are, you know, rampant consumer society that we spend a lot of money on things that are throw awayables, if you will. i don’t see the demand kind of cushing for that any time soon. so i think that’s a big part of it.

>> we spoke with wilbur ross when we were in the port of oakland, dan. he offered the following in terms of the connection between the trade deficit and unemployment in this country.

>> when you consider a $600 billion net deficit, that probably would take 3 or 4 percentage points off the unemployment, if, in fact, we got to trade break even.

>> can you be serious about jobs in america and keep this kind of a trade policy, daniel?

>> i think you have to push to bring down the tariffs and to create a more equal level. i don’t know that we’re ready to do that when it comes to china at this point, dylan. that’s the direction that you have to move if you want to have an equilibrium and fair level playing field internationally.

>> and what to you see as the barrier? is it simply a matter of educating people, or is it more complex than that?

>> education is undoubtedly one of the factors, dylan, that’s correct. i’m looking at something, differential labor rates is an issue. i’m looking at something as well particularly in my practice. that’s access to raw materials. the chinese have an enormous appetite for raw materials, the precursor elements we depend on, that the world depends on for manufacturer. the united states, for instance, is interested in trying to create a green tech manufacturing base. but i’m looking at a situation where the chinese have a very strong position in many of the precursor materials and that’s creating a reason for, in addition to labor rates, that’s creating a reason for companies to locate to manufacturer in china, so it’s almost a question of a capture of an entire industry we’re talking about here. there are going to be no quick turnarounds when it comes to those issues.

>> i appreciate you taking the time to highlight it. we’re looking to use our amplifier to educate people to these issues as much as we possibly can. i thank you for your efforts. lisa reisman, metal miner, the publication. and daniel, strategic group. thank you, both, guys, for your time this afternoon. in the days to come here, we will be announcing new details about the next leg of our steel on wheels tour. we’re going to keep at them. looking to create a jobs movement in this country. do be sure to keep an eye on our website, steelonwheels.com. we’ll keep you posted here as well. also submit your ideas for solving america’s problems in your own community on a state level or national level at steelonwheels.com. we’ll pick

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