Sunday, September 30, 2007

Americans Worry About Chinese Goods--or Do They?

Sources: Reuters, Reuters

Americans today are increasingly worried about Chinese imports. From baby cribs, food, toothpaste, to toys—and all products in between, the moniker “Made in China” has taken a new meaning to American consumers. Dangers of lead based paint to food contamination have led to increased worry about Chinese products. 78% of Americans worry about Chinese imports, and nearly a quarter have stopped purchasing food imported from China. 35 percent of Americans are “very worried” and 43 percent are “somewhat worried.” Yet, Americans continue to purchase a high number of Chinese-made goods.

Lower costs likely ensures a continued supply of Chinese imports, but the Made in China image has been damaged. Yet, China is fighting back. China has agreed to cooperate globally to combat problems. It has publicly defended its health record—even going as far as criminally punishing local officials. Over the past several months, China has pledged to spend over $1 billion in increasing food safety, as well as giving regulators more power to enforce regulations.

Discussion Question: If US consumers continue to purchase Chinese goods—even in light of the contaminated food and lead-based paint—what governmental safety mechanisms can be put in place to ensure safety?

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