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The National Flag Bill: Patriotism or Trade Monopoly?

(People's Daily Online)

15:20, July 06, 2012

Edited and translated by Mimie Ouyang, People's Daily Online

On July 3, the day before the Independence Day, some Americans openly called on the House of Representatives speedily for the adoption of the National Flag Bill. According to the bill passed by the U.S. Senate as early as July last year, U.S. federal agencies can only procure the national flags in the United States, and the material for the flags must be entirely “made in America”; the transportation of the flags must also be carried out by U.S. companies.

The flag is a national symbol and emblem of the U.S., representing the strong sense of patriotism of the general public. The act to “sanctify” the flag production and transportation is easily understandable, and deserves respect.

However, the flag is not only just a symbol of patriotism across the nation; it is also a reflection of Americans’ worry of its decline in manufacturing and the counter-measures being used to address this problem. The Seattle Times pointed out that the “National Flag Bill supporters are adamant on underlining two vital pieces of information: first of which, in 2011 the United States spent a total of $3.6million on purchases of the American flag; of them, a staggering $3.3million of flags bought were ‘Made in China’”.

The Wall Street Journal said the bankruptcy of American flag dealer Liberty Flag & Specialty Co. has raised the attention to spirits of the American citizens. It is natural to see U.S. groups are trying to raise awareness of the national flag bill and the “Made in China” label associated with it, pulling the “Made in America” concept into different dimensions. It’s distorted the noble connotations associated with patriotism; to put it in other words over-patriotism has caused this protectionist sentiment.

In fact, there has been a long-standing anxiety in the United States with “Made in China” products; and it never stops wilding measure of protectionism. Have the “Made in China” products really robbed Americans of their jobs, or in fact allowed Americans to be much better off? However from a rational perspective, many sensible views exist.

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