And this is on the heels of the fake protein in cat/dog food, and the lead in the kids’s toys.
But in Africa and Asia, things are worse. The tainted cough medicine that killed Panamanians was the tip of the iceburg for a couple hundred thousand people dying from counterfeit drugs (mainly antibiotics or anti Malarial medicine) some of which is also made in China.
Here in the Philippines the Palenke is full of Chinese stuff which is poor quality. Unlike 20 years ago, we can get quality goods in the Malls, but like most Pinoys, when our relatives visit they bring quality clothing and electronic goods.
The Chinese goods are not merely frustrating because of their poor quality, but because they underprice local goods (wages are lower in China) so many local manufacturing plants have gone broke. A similar story is happening in Africa.
But it’s one thing to buy a tee shirt that gets holes in it after three washes, it’s another thing to find 150 people dying in a bus accident because of counterfeit brakes…or that this is probably only the tip of the iceburg…
According to Felix Nyado, head of enforcement, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, there are about 1500 pirated automobile components while 80 per cent of vehicle parts being sold in the country are believed to be either fake or of questionable quality. It is claimed they are responsible for most automobile
accidents in the country, but no accurate statistics exist.
Today;s news has an article worrying about cheap Chinese steel of dubious quality. Ordinarily I’d say, oh well, wanting quotas to keep American jobs home. But:
William Upton, president of Vulcan Threaded Products, based in Pelham, Alabama, said a company team visited China in November 2006 to investigate how Chinese companies could manufacture a competing steel rod product so cheaply….
The (testing) results showed “133 failures out of the 222 samples tested — an astonishing 60 percent failure rate,”…
And then there are the fake computer parts, which just might contain chips that would enable China to shut down entire systems if there is a cyberwar…and at least the US has a moderate idea to try to keep their networks secure. India is much more vulnerable to Chinese based hackers..and there is a lowgrade cyberwar going on right now.
Hackers can be criminal or independent mischief makkers, but when repeated attacks come from dictatorships (China, Russia, some Islamic countries) that tightly control their internet, you must assume the government approves of the cyberwar.
So is China the enemy?
No, but if China wants to be part of globalization it has to start playing by the rules.
Just like Pinoys are getting their clothing and electronics from Balikbayan boxes and visitors, so also upscale consumers are slowly becoming aware of the problem and will refuse to buy these shoddy goods. Alas, the poor all over the world will continue to be cheated unless someone steps in and pressures China to stop selling these goods.
In the rush to outsource to cheap Chinese labor, US Companies are being burned because of shoddy practices, and as the heparin/dogfood cases show, even outright criminal fraud.
When Democrats talk about NAFTA and outsoucing jobs, they are pandering to their base to get votes, and so what is not being discussed is quality and safety issues because the Chinese government does not chose to impose regulations or prosecute fraud.
And in this case, both big business and consumer organizations have a common cause to do something about it.