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US households can’t live without ‘made-in-China’: Survey

By Zhang Niansheng, Gao Shi, Zheng Qi  (People's Daily)    11:49, April 05, 2018

US households can’t live without made-in-China products, reported People’s Daily on April 3 after interviewing a number of Americans who expressed their concerns over the China-US trade war and hopes for bilateral cooperation.

If the Trump administration imposes $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese commodities, the move will influence all Americans, pointed out New York Daily News in a recent report.

The US National Retail Federation shared the same opinion in an open letter to President Donald Trump.

Over 41 percent of clothes, 72 percent of shoes and 84 percent of travel goods in the US market are made in China. Increased tariffs on these products are tantamount to adding more taxes on customers, said the letter.

At present, customers can buy a large box of Easter eggs tagged with “made in China” costing only $14.99 at Walmart in Virginia. However, it’s uncertain whether the eggs will be more expensive next year, an adult from a less well-off family shopping at the supermarket for festive eggs with two daughters told the journalist.

Taking an electronic product as another example,  a 1-meter long data cable for iPhones is sold $19 at the Apple store. Identical products with the same features made by Anke, a Chinese manufacturer, only cost American consumers $7.99. They are sold on Amazon as well as at some physical chain stores such as Walmart, Ikea and Best Buy, said People’s Daily.

Many interviewees agreed that prices of such commodities will rise as the new tariff policy is carried out, but it’s in fact the Americans that will pay for the consequences.

For the whole year in 2017, the US imported 2.38 billion pairs of shoes worth over $25 billion while its domestic manufacturers only made 25 million pairs, according to statistics from Footwear Distributors and Retailers Association (FDRA) in the US, adding that the number of imported shoes made in China amounted to 1.7 billion in 2017, worth $14 billion.

The Association noted that a pair of Nike sneakers sold at $160 will rise to $200 or a higher price if the tariffs increase. Erik, a senior manager and also gym fan has sports shoes that are mostly made in China and cost around $100, said he plans to buy fewer new shoes if the prices go up.

A large quantity of imported Chinese commodities boasting good quality and lower prices flow to Walmart customers. If there will indeed be sweeping rises in price over daily necessities such as clothes and bedding, the low income and middle income households will face more substantial increase of living expenses than other classes, said Senior Fellow Chad Bown at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), a US private research institution.

China and the US have established a close economic and trade relationship in the past 40 years. The trade war will be damaging for both countries, said Richard Cooper, Professor of International Economics at Harvard University.

He noted that any kind of trade war can affect US households and also importers of intermediate products from China. Taking steel as an example, steel is not used by final consumers, but high tariffs will hurt downstream users.

The new tariff policy will cause hundreds of thousands of job losses in the US, according to United States Global Partners (USGP), an international trading and business consulting company based in the US.

The consulting company noted that over 26,000 new jobs in the steel and aluminum industries will be created after more tariffs are levied on imported Chinese products, but a far larger number of almost 500,000 employees from related industries, such as aviation, auto manufacturing, construction and electronic components will lose their jobs owing to rising costs.

Back to 2002, then US President George W Bush announced an increase of 8 to 30 percent tariffs added to Chinese steel products entering the US, but the move failed to stimulate employment and ended one and a half years later.

Trade cooperation requires both sides to reach for a common background, instead of acting in its own way, said Rudy Vetter, chief marketing officer for Green Card Fund, an Arizona-based group that connects foreign investors and developers.

Public figures with vision from both countries believe that China and the US have been economically intertwined. Cooperation leads to mutual benefits while confrontation will only hurt both sides.

Vetter’s opinion echoes a commonly agreed upon philosophy.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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