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China Returns Fire, Claims US Is Stealing Chinese Jobs

REUTERS/Aly Song

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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State-run newspapers in China suggested Thursday Americans have been “stealing jobs” from Chinese workers.

President Donald Trump stated before Congress Tuesday that the U.S. has “lost 60,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001,” agitating China.

Beijing was quick too point out that such losses were unrelated to China.

“The number is accurate, but attributing it to China is a stretch. There’s nothing in the data that suggests it has anything to do with China,” argued Monica de Bolle, senior fellow at the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, the state-run China Daily reported early Thursday morning.

Later in the day, China’s Xinhua News Agency took the argument a step further.

“China is also experiencing factory losses. The so-called ‘world’s factory’ is shedding manufacturing jobs, not just to lower-cost regions such as Southeast Asia, but also to higher-end economies,” Xinhua explained. “Indeed, one of the hottest economic topics in China is the loss of jobs to the United States.”

Xinhua cited Cao Dewang as an example. Cao, a billionaire who owns a glass-making company, decided to invest billions in the U.S. last year after concluding domestic production costs were too high in China.

Beijing patted itself on the back for not criticizing the U.S. for stealing jobs.

“China is not in the habit of finger-pointing for ‘stealing jobs,'” Xinhua noted. “Almost none blamed Uncle Sam for being attractive and business-friendly and luring Cao’s investment away.”

Xinhua did not provide any statistics for job losses to the U.S.

A 2015 study published in The Journal of Labor Economics suggested that ” job losses from rising Chinese import competition” between 1999 and 2011 are estimated at about 2 million. The Economic Policy Institute reported this year that 3.4 million jobs have been lost across all 50 states.

Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, the U.S. trade deficit expanded from $83 billion to $367.2 billion.

There is evidence that China has lost jobs to the U.S. as domestic manufacturing costs rise; however, the numbers are low. A recent American Chamber of Commerce in China survey revealed that only a quarter of business respondents were moving their operations out of China. Of those companies, only 40 percent were shifting their operations to the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The specific numbers for businesses moving their operations to the U.S. are likely on the low end.

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