LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trade war with China

America is at war with China, and we don’t even know it. Not a ground or air war, which I pray never happens, but an economic war; and they are kicking our rear ends.

President Trump’s tariffs did not hurt China, as he used to say. It hurt American importers such as my business and the American consumer. My company has been paying a 25% tariff for two years. This has not stopped the consumer from buying Chinese products. 

The reason why? There is not enough domestic manufacturing here to accommodate the demand. The only place for most Americans to buy many consumer products today is China.

President Trump was on the right track to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. President Biden and the Democrats should offer every American manufacturer with plants in China better tax incentives, training programs and rebates — anything to bring those jobs back to America and away from China.

If they continue to manufacture and invest in China, they should be penalized heavily for their decisions. 

Every Chinese dynasty was scared of only one thing, and this current dictatorship is no different. Chinese dictators and autocrats are terrified behind all their bluster and saber-rattling that millions of Chinese peasants will go find their old pitchforks and head for the streets.

China has to create 15 million new jobs each year just to absorb their growing workforce. By contrast, in a great year, the US might create 2 million new jobs.

Where does China create those jobs from? American businesses who locate there to take advantage of their cheaper labor, some of it slave labor, and relaxed-to-non-existent regulatory regimes concerning labor rights and environmental protection.

The National Association of Manufacturers published a report long ago that pointed out companies doing business in China enjoy a 20% cost advantage solely from the regulatory burden imposed by our government. 

If America would erase this cost-differential, we would see millions of Chinese jobs return to the US.  When massive unemployment goes up in China, and the peasants who used to toil in the fields but now manufacture products begin to cause unrest among a billion citizens, then we might see China become a responsible player in world trade.

That is the only way to turn the tide in this war. Manufacture in the United States.

Russ Barringer III is one of the owners of Dealers Supply Company in Durham