fresh voices from the front lines of change







Hey everyone: QUICK TRIVIA QUESTION: Where are iPads and iPhones manufactured?…

Need we even tell you the answer?  Aren’t all of you quite obviously aware that these omnipresent, hi-tech gizmos are “Made in China?”

Brace yourself: In an interview on ABC This Week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stated that iPads and iPhones are manufactured in the U.S.

Apparently, McCain was trying to make the point that the U.S. makes cool hi-tech goods and just needs free trade agreements to gain more overseas market access.

Unfortunately, the good Senator is wrong on several counts:

1. In addition to iPads and iPhones, China manufactures a tremendous amount of hi-tech equipment.  Those products are NOT made in USA.

2. As the Congressionally mandated U.S.-China Commission points out on page 19 of its latest annual report: the U.S. trade deficit with China in advanced technology products soared to $72.5 billion in 2009

3. The sad truth is that, where manufacturing goes, innovation follows.  More and more valuable hi-tech products are no longer being made in the U.S.

Regarding the massive import of foreign-made goods into the U.S. market, McCain believes this is because “cheaper, lower-cost labor products will usually prevail over products made in higher wage and income countries.”  Inexplicably, this conflicts with McCain’s belief that the iPad and other hi-tech goods are made in USA.  It also ignores the fact that Germany, a high-wage nation, has become one of the world’s most successful manufacturing and exporting nations.  Germany has accomplished this by focusing on enhancing its industrial base. 

Apparently Sen. McCain believes that mere “innovation” will fuel a U.S. recovery.  The reality is less cheerful:  Because the U.S. has no cohesive national strategy to address illegal, predatory trade from countries like China, Sen. McCain’s goal to “restore our economy” via “exports” will continue to be a pipe dream.

What’s needed is a firm plan to rebalance U.S. trade.  When China, for example, blocks its market to U.S. products, and employs illegal currency manipulation to undercut U.S. manufacturers, the United States must take strong action.  Otherwise, more key industries will continue to move overseas.

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