New Dashboard Tracks China’s Progress (or Lack Thereof) on Key Economic Reforms

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

President Trump is headed to Asia, where he’ll meet with leaders of several nations to discuss a whole host of things.

As my colleague Matt McMullan noted earlier this week, we are most focused on what Trump opts to do when it comes to trade, particularly with China. Although the Trump administration recently affirmed China’s non-market economy status, The Donald has mostly been all talk and little action on trade thus far – and in fact, it’s causing a new set of problems.

That’s why his trip to Asia is so important. The 10-day jaunt offers an opportunity to take on some of the big trade issues between the United States and nations like China – and regardless of whether you like Trump or hate him, it’s important to recognize that these issues are legitimate.

Data newly compiled by the Asia Society Policy Institute and the Rhodium Group offers some proof.

The two groups partnered to produce The China Dashboard, which tracks the 10 economic policy reform goals Chinese leaders announced in 2013. While China set 2020 as their target date for completing these goals, it is only making progress in one of the areas – increasing innovation – while lagging behind in some key spots.

Labor reforms fared the worst, as “migrant worker wages have slumped to a ratio of 0.7 versus GDP,” CNBC noted. Meanwhile, China’s reliance on state-owned enterprises continues:

China also doesn't appear to be cutting back its reliance on state-owned enterprises, which are typically less efficient than privately owned corporations.

The China Dashboard divides Chinese industries into three kinds: "key" industries for which government involvement is reasonable, "pillar" industries such as equipment manufacturing, and "normal" industries such as tourism. The data showed little change over the last five years in the share of state-owned enterprise participation across all three divisions.

"Even in the most normal market, competitive-type industries, there's no evidence of a reduction of state involvement and pressure," [Rhodium's Daniel] Rosen said. State-owned enterprises accounted for nearly 17 percent of the "normal" industries.

Those state-owned enterprises have been a big sticking point between China and many free-market nations, including the United States. As we’ve seen with industries like steel and aluminum, state-owned companies don’t have to abide by market forces – which means they can continue to churn out product regardless of demand, and then dump it into the U.S. market priced far below fair value. That’s hugely unfair to companies that operate in an open market and play by the rules.

And as our own Scott Paul wrote to Trump on Oct. 31, many SOEs are “now aggressively seeking to invest here in America, putting further strain on U.S. firms that make decisions based on market forces.” That’s why it’s so important that the United States strengthens our system of reviewing such acquisitions – and does not reward China with additional trade concessions, including a potential bilateral investment treaty, until it can prove it is making meaningful progress in moving toward a more open market.

China likely isn’t going to make progress in these areas on its own; the United States needs to make clear to China that doing things like reducing its reliance on state-owned enterprises and improving labor standards is in its best interest.

Is President Trump up to the task? Well, this trip is a make-or-break moment for him, and we’ll be watching closely. In the meantime, you can keep the pressure on.

***

Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work