The more the days go by the more I find myself saying that to the digital bouncing head on television that is our President. President Bush's actions abroad range from hawkish pushes for war to strange olive branches of peace. Today Bush met with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The big thing they discussed was American <-> Chinese Trade. After reading a few articles, a few papers, I found the whole thing slightly humorous and actually quite scary.
"In a day of talks, the president called on China to expand religious, political and social freedoms and urged steps to reduce Beijing’s huge trade surplus with the United States. President Hu Jintao promised steps to resolve economic frictions.
The two leaders conferred at the Great Hall of the People on the edge of Tiananmen Square, and Hu said they both sought an outcome of “mutual benefit and win-win results.”
America exports very little to China. Yes that figure is around $35 billion, growing every year, but take a few things into account. Middle class Chinese are becoming wealthier and... you really must look at what we're exporting. In my opinion the biggest area of growth in China is trending towards consumer goods, with a rise in middle class income, middle class Chinese have been salivating for luxury items. Unfortunately for us, these aren't predominantly American. Who are the makers of luxry items? D&G, Prada, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo... all European. What do we export to China? We export, airplanes, power generation equipment, medicine/medical devices, and electronics.
Maybe it's me, but I see a big problem here. Airplanes, how many do airliners buy each year from Boeing, etc.? Not a whole lot, and the thing is they aren't things that must be upgraded every year, so until China develops a capitalist environment where airline companies line up to compete with each other, this recent 70 737's to China is going to be a one time deal... at least for now. Electronics? Being an electrical engineer who is looking for a job in a few months, I see the big problem, we are doing most, if not all of our electronic manufacturing abroad. It's cheaper, of course we would do that. HP and every laptop brand we have has its laptops manufactured and designed in China/Taiwan. China/Taiwan now have the most advanced pcb and chip fabrication plants on Earth, and we rely on them, they are like the OPEC of silicon.
They can manufacture their own, they are very competent at designing their own, what's stopping them from making the entire industry their own? Not a whole lot, maybe a few MBA's with vision. Bush tells China we want trade parity, we want China to revalue their currency, the problem extends beyond trade parity and currency, it stretches to, how long does China actually need us to be a trading partner? The top 3 exporters to China are their neighbors, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan, why require the culturally, politics, ambition disimilar America to come in and say what needs to be done? America is lucky our medical device ingenuity is so strong or we really would be in the red.
I think the only thing they are missing right now is imagination and leadership. Once those components are there, it's not a "world is flat" scenario championed by Friedman, it's back to cold war type spheres of influence. The US will have Latin America, South America, Canada, Europe. Europe will have... Europe and the US. Africa well... I don't know anything about their trade. Asia will have Asia. Can you imagine having 3-4 EU type establishments? The EU, the AmU,AsU... It'll be like playing Risk.
“The spirit of the Lord is very strong inside your church,” Bush said.
In the church’s guest book, Bush wrote “May God bless the Christians of China.”
Why do I cringe at that? Not so much because I have a problem with organized religion in general, but because of the pointed content of the statement. When the President addresses our religiously diverse country, he says "May God bless America"...not "Christians of America". God only blesses the Christians of China? I know it's only a guestbook, but that seems to be a political slap in the face, a faux pas if you will.
With so much attention diverted to Middle Eastern Terror, are we spending enough effort strengthening our own ability to stay competitive at home? We keep talking about increasing jobs, let's be honest, the jobs that are being created aren't the jobs that are going to keep us afloat on the international boxing ring. We have to be at the head of technology again or we're screwed. (A lot of Asian women who were polled said they weren't interested in buying the Motorola Razr... if we can't even sell cool now, what can we sell? Surely not bootleg Hollywood films)