August 2, 2007

Can the Dragon Drag On ?

August 02, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 1 comment
You come to the U.S and you are greeted with products which are seldom Made In U.S.A. The products on sale range from Made In Cambodia tags to Made In Pakistan. But none more than the Made In China tag. So much so, that anything you purchase has more than a 50% chance of being a Chinese made product. I was looking at the Creative Zen Stone 1GB player my friend has bought, and I turn it back, and I see it again !! Made In China ! While it has helped in kicking on the burgeoning economy of the Dragon, trouble seems to be round the corner.

U.S imports 40% of it's goods from China, which means, every 2 products in 5 that you purchase from the U.S is bound to have the Made In China label. But that label may soon be replaced, maybe even by the Made In U.S label. Chinese imports have in recent months come under sever scrutiny after alarm bells went around about the safety of Chinese imports. Toothpaste and cough syrup exported by China were found to be highly unsafe due to toxic substances. Of course, with such a huge demand, and massive industrialization, something had to give in, and worryingly, it is the environment.

Industrial waste has been increasingly polluting major water bodies. Since China is also a major exporter of seafood, there is a high likelihood of the fish also getting infected . To rectify this, the farm raised fish are pumped with antibiotics to keep the fish healthy and alive. Unfortunately, that has resulted in increasing cancer risks to consumers, and increased resistance to antibiotics.

This is apart from the pet food issues facing Chinese Exports. China has never had a proper check on Food and Drug standards. That hasn't helped matters one bit.A series of pet deaths in the U.S from pet food imports from China, raised further concerns over imports from China. With the mounting number of issues with Chinese imports, some swift action had to be taken by China. This resulted in the execution of its former Food & Drug regulator, Zheng Xiaoyu in July. If China thought that could mean a direct action on it's food regulations, they were wrong.

Negligence of the environment has come back to haunt the dragon. With a series of such issues, there should have been more protest against China's construction of a road for torch bearers till the base of the Mount Everest for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. With the number of tourists increasing, road access to the base camp can only cause more ecological degradation in the Himalayan mountain. A 108 km long stretch of road, with such Chinese ignorance of the environment, is most certainly worrisome.

In the latest though, China Made Toys have also been recalled. toy maker, Fisher-Price is recalling 83 types of toys, which totals close to a million plastic preschool toys, due to excessive amounts of lead in the paint of these toys. Even though it is still ubiquitous to find Chinese manufactured products, public paranoia is slowly setting in about Chinese goods in the U.S. Though as a remedial and quick measure new food safety regulations have been defined, any U.S Consumer would think twice before buying a Chinese product. Now, would that mean only 1 (instead of 2) in 5 products bought in U.S would be Chinese made ? That question will be answered only in due course of time. For the moment though, the Dragon can still drag on.


Anonymous said...

Please tell me Socrates, why would you waste your breath and time on the writings of Chinese imports in America when you live in India. I think if you look at it in a different light, by the US importing and letting the US grow weaker, India has a chance to grow stronger!