Although we certainly know today that most anything sold in the United States is made overseas, the American companies that make it there and import it from there are not exactly keen on telling us that their product is made in China or India, especially in today’s economy, with so many Americans out of a job due to outsourcing of manufacturing jobs overseas. Of course the companies don’t have to advertise it — it’s noted on the product packaging. While the country of origin must be marked on the packaging fact is today few people are looking for the marking where the product was made. For the most part Americans have learned to love the low-cost products sold in Wal-Mart and Gap because the product design is “American style”, made to our tastes and specifications.
May be ten, fifteen years ago people used to look at the label where the product was made because our mass media kept us alert to the fact we should be buying “American made” products. Remember some of those TV commercials? One ran right up to the late 90s, the very year when we gave China Most Favored Nation status, and went something like this: A small boy asks his mother why his father lost a job, the coat factory he worked in closed. The mother said because nobody wanted to buy the coats made there. The boy asks why. Her answer was “I don’t know,” then a caption came on the screen: “Buy American.” The answer was quite simple – they can make that coat just as well if not better overseas for a price much lower.
After the commercial or for years before it the news anchor told us another story about the wonders of “Free Trade.” We have been fed “Free Trade” since the 70s. It all sounded so good and until the last twelve months of presidential campaigns, the economic meltdown and the massive loss of jobs “outsourcing” hasn’t been quite the dirty word that it is now. But despite the growing awareness that we must bring jobs back to America, as long as the United States will be part of Free Trade, products will be made where they can be made well and cheaper than we can make them in this country. Until now when people are out of work and consumer spending has plummeted everyone loved to get these great looking products made to our taste and specifications, and they still do if they can still afford it, and never mind where in the Third World the stuff is really coming from!
Remember the economic boom that started in the late 90s when we gave China the “Most Favored Nation” status and right after that created NAFTA? Under all those free trade agreements so much started to come into this country from China and Mexico and elsewhere around the world, and we all bought this stuff at those great Third World prices and no one was looking were the product was made or insisted on wanting to buy American made! The economic boom due to significant consumer spending we had experienced in this country was great, for a number of years, until we got to where we are today.
Importing we spend money, the dollar is going out! American companies have been outsourcing manufacturing to countries like China where there is skilled but cheap labor and import from there. It’s business for profit. They have been making money off of us, the consumer, selling the product to us at what is an attractive price but they in fact have been making a higher mark up on what they manufacture overseas and sell here today than ever before when they used to manufacture it in this country! That is an undeniable fact.
Starting or running a small business today you can do the same! You should do the same! You must do the same! As long as there will be Free Trade and America will be part of it, companies will continue to outsource manufacturing overseas, to anywhere where the product can be made at lower costs than in the United States, as long as the product quality can be assured to be at least as good or better than if the product should be made in the United States. Needing to bring jobs back to America may necessitate the United States will need to drop out of at least some of the Free Trade agreements. It is highly unlikely, however, that a complete turnaround in how business is done today will take place anytime soon. Free Trade is here to stay and with it there will be outsourcing of production overseas.
- Myth of where you need to import your product from
- Sourcing readymade products vs. product development