HIGHTOWER: Clinton's China Policy

If you think the Chinese are inscrutable . . . try the Clinton administration's China policy.It's based on ignoring the brutal human-rights crimes of that country's rulers in favor of a policy of "economic engagement." The claim is that our national interest is best served if we just "do business," taking advantage of the economic boom we can get from China.But . . . a boom for whom?Well, they say, What about that billion-dollar deal that General Motors just signed when Al Gore was in China? It's a deal to make 100,000 Buicks a year in Shanghai, which will require shipping millions-of-dollars worth of Buick parts over there -- a boom for American workers who make auto parts.Sounds good . . . until you learn that part of the deal includes GIVING the Chinese our automobile technology, allowing them to make their own parts within five years. Then, American auto workers will be faced with a huge new competitor that uses dirt cheap labor.Well, yes, says GM, but this deal lets us establish a market-based distribution network for cars we will make and sell in China. That's odd, since the only market for cars in China is the government itself. The Chinese people average less than $300 a year in total income -- not exactly enough to buy Buick Regals. Besides, there already is a glut of cars in China and throughout Asia, and manufacturers are selling cars at a loss.This deal is not about selling cars in Asia. Instead, GM will use Chinese labor to make cars they'll ship back here and sell. Remember, another part of Clinton's China Policy is to let goods from there enter America with practically no tariffs.Remember, too, that Clinton has already allowed the Chinese government's shipping company to take-over an old naval base in California, giving GM a convenient dock for unloading its cheap Chinese Buicks. What a deal.Source:"Gore witnesses Boeing-China Deal" by James Bennet. New York Times: March 1997. "Automotive Industry: Asian car production set to exceed demand" by Peter Montagnon. Financial Times Limited : March 25, 1997.

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