Volume 38, Issue 8, August 2003
AAMA Fears China Trade Infringements Threaten Industry
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has raised concern about alleged Chinese trade infringements in the areas of dumping, currency manipulation and intellectual property privacy.
According to AAMA, the surge in essentially
unregulated Chinese imports poses a serious threat to the stability of various
U.S. industries. China has become the world’s sixth largest exporter of goods,
with the United States purchasing about 47 percent of those exports—some $125
billion worth in 2002—while exporting only $22 billion in goods to China. AAMA
suspects this surge in Chinese imports can be attributed to illegal dumping
tactics, which occur when a good’s imported price is less than its normal
value in the country of export. From 1978 to 2001, 33 countries and regions
brought 498 antidumping cases worth $16 billion against Chinese companies.
Another concern raised by AAMA centers around the suspicion that the Chinese have manipulated their currency to keep the U.S. dollar overvalued by some 40 percent in an effort to increase exports and restrict imports. According to AAMA, if the Chinese were to correct their exchange rate, Chinese products would become 40 percent more expensive, creating a level playing field on which U.S. manufacturers could compete. This would also reduce the incentive for U.S. companies to outsource or relocate to China, a trend that has resulted in the loss of some 2.3 million U.S. manufacturing jobs since 2000.
Finally, despite WTO rules under which Chinese companies may not create counterfeit goods or adopt foreign patents, trademarks or copyrighted materials as their own, AAMA claims that intellectual property theft occurs in China on a massive scale. In 2001, U.S. firms lost $1.5 billion due to the piracy of audio-visual products and software, while counterfeiting in China is reportedly a $16 billion industry.
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