NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 5, 2008

Hillary Clinton last week took flak for criticizing a Chinese business deal in Indiana that her husband's administration had supported.  Perhaps she should have consulted the U.S.-China Business Council's study on U.S. exports to China before she tried to argue that ties with China are hurting Americans, says the Wall Street Journal.

For example:

  • Between 2000 and 2007, 406 of 426 congressional districts in the United States clocked triple-digit export growth to the mainland.
  • Note that the bulk of these are manufactured goods: electrical equipment and machinery, power generation equipment and aircraft are America's top three export categories to China in dollar terms.
  • In services, the United States ran a $3.7 billion trade surplus with China in 2006, the latest year for which data are available.

Take Indiana's first district, home of the Magnaquench factory in Valparaiso, whose 2005 closing has Senator Clinton so ruffled:

  • Between 2000 and 2007, the first district's exports to China increased 307 percent, compared with a 65 percent increase for exports to the rest of the world.
  • That amounted to $74 million last year.

Or consider the sixth district, home to the city of Anderson, the former corporate home of Magnaquench:

  • The sixth district saw its exports to China grow 311 percent between 2000 and 2007, reaching $118 million last year.
  • Perhaps not coincidentally, the city's official Web site includes sections in Chinese (as well as Japanese and German).

Trade with China, like trade with any country, will at times lead to the shuttering of inefficient factories and displaced workers.  But these latest data are a reminder that trade creates new opportunities, too.  Rather than ratcheting up the antitrade and anti-China rhetoric, this year's presidential candidates would be better off focusing on helping Americans seize the opportunities of trade, says the Journal.

Source: Editorial, Indiana To Beijing, Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2008.

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