China ''Not to Blame for US Job Losses''
Education system ''fails to educate,'' says US Chamber of Commerce head
WASHINGTON, DC - 01/07/03 - The US should not blame China for the loss of its manufacturing jobs because these losses have nothing to do with that country, the head of the largest US business lobbying organization says.
US Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said that "massive" productivity increases allowing US businesses do more work with fewer employees and lower demand for US goods overseas stemming from the global economic slowdown have contributed to the US job losses.
Some US companies, organized labor and labor supporters in Congress have blamed China's trade and monetary policies rather than those factors for the contraction of employment in the US manufacturing sector, which shed more than an estimated two million jobs in 1995-2002.
Donohue told reporters in Washington, DC recently that US companies move their operations to China not because that country offers them unfair advantages but, principally, because it is a large market with 1.3 billion consumers.
In addition, he said, when these companies scale down or close their operations in the US to source their products in China or other countries, they are looking not only for cheap labor but also for a more business-friendly regulatory and tax environment. The US regulatory and tax systems often put businesses at a disadvantage in the global market, he added.
Donohue said that the US must be tough and persistent in demanding that China fulfill its World Trade Organization obligations but should not blame the Chinese for its own problems.
"I think we've made continued, regular and vigorous progress [working with China] in that regard, quite frankly, faster than with others we have trade relations with," he said.
Donohue said the situation is quite different with regard to US companies hiring technology workers in India, who provide their services via the Internet, "because these companies cannot find enough computer and software programmers and engineers in the US."
Donohue said that with the US' large "baby boom" generation close to retirement age, the country will soon face a situation where job growth outpaces labor force growth.
"We're going to have jobs without people [to fill them] and people without jobs" because they will lack the skills required by an advanced economy, he said.
He criticized the US education system for not providing students education matching US economic needs.
Donohue said that immigration and guest worker programs must be part of the solution in addition to improvements in the quality of education and more training opportunities.
The US Chamber of Commerce has supported expanded visa programs to meet workforce needs at both the entry-level and highly skilled ends of the spectrum.
But Donohue said the Bush Administration and Congress first have to find a way, without rewarding illegal activities and compromising national security, to grant legal status to those illegal immigrants who have been working in the US for some time.
He said that an immigration initiative he expects President Bush to launch January 7 will only partly satisfy the chamber, but that maintaining the proper balance between security and the flow of people is more important than pressing for full reform.
Bruce Josten, the Chamber's vice president for government affairs, said at the briefing that security concerns have overshadowed and stalled comprehensive immigration reform, which was already well advanced prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
"We have to look at this now much more broadly, and, hopefully, with more time and distance from September 11, we will move on it [immigration reform]," he said.
Josten expressed optimism about chances of getting the immigration debate back on track during the 2004 election year.
He said that the Administration as well as both major political parties are well aware that the business community, organized labor and immigration groups are in "total" agreement on the need for reform, and that immigrants' votes may play a "crucially important" role in the coming presidential elections.
back, or read the latest Front Page stories:
US Seeks Stronger Ties With Brazil
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/13/06 – Rebounding from the failure to craft a Free Trade Area of the Americas pact, the Bush Administration is aiming at strengthening trade ties with Brazil in an effort to counter China’s fast-growing economic influence in Latin America; China should not only be seen as an export market with 1.3 billion consumers, but also as a nation of 1.3 billion ''new competitors,'' says US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Guittierez.
US Threatens WTO Action Against China
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/10/06 – The White House is threatening to slap China with a World Trade Organization case unless Beijing responds quickly to US concerns over its lack of action on securing intellectual property rights for US products; talks on bringing the WTO case are at a ''very advanced stage,'' according to a high level official in the Office of the US trade Representative.
High Hopes for Central American Trade Pact
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/08/06 – The US -Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) still faces some hurdles, but could become a reality ''very soon,'' according to Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick; the issues relating to government procurement, intellectual property rights and agriculture still need to be worked through, says the former US Trade Representative following a session of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.