By John Wagster, EVP, General Counsel, Freeborders, Inc.
That’s not a headline we would expect to see is it? Particularly during a heated campaign season where the only thing both sides appear to agree on is a negative portrayal of China. The fact is, most of us who do substantial business in or with China keep our heads down when China bashing hits a fevered pitch. I suppose the fear is that anyone who speaks out may incur the wrath of both sides. Fair enough.
But standing by silently has a predictable downside. There is plenty of room for legitimate disagreement about China policy, but allowing unfair attacks on China-focused business to go uncontested gives them credibility. Slamming imports from China without acknowledging how their reduced price and high quality have benefitted the average US consumer is irresponsible. Criticizing a pegged Chinese currency without acknowledging the benefits of those rates to US companies operating from China is disingenuous.
The fact is, US exports to China are increasing and often in ways that defy statistics. Freeborders and other western companies operating in China as Wholly Owned Foreign Entities (WOFE’s) appear in statistics as Chinese companies even though we create substantial numbers of jobs in the US and send our profits back to the US. We also increase exports to China by putting our knowledge of the Chinese market to work for other western companies entering China.
Yes, we are American. Yes, we operate in China. And yes, we are benefitting the American economy through exports and job creation. Just don’t expect us to boast about it until mid-November.