A top official in the U.S. Commerce Department has been in Iowa the past two days, talking about trade around the world and the status of the U.S. manufacturing industry. Under Secretary Grant Aldonas has just returned from a two-week trip to China. Aldonas says the Chinese economy is really the only other “engine” besides the U.S. in the world economy. Some critics complain about cheap Chinese goods that displace American-made items on U.S. store shelves, but Aldonas says trade is a two-way street, and if Americans companies and farmers want to enter the Chinese market, China must be allowed in to ours. Aldonas says China is a huge market for Pella-based Vermeer manufacturing because of the massive construction that’s underway as the Chinese economy expands. Aldonas admits a “non-market” economy like China has “built in advantages” and he says that means he and other U.S. trade officials must be vigilant. Aldonas says in the past four years of the Bush Administration, twice as many “dumping” cases have filed against the Chinese as the Clinton Administration filed in eight years. “I think the arguments that people have made that we haven’t been tough on China are simply wrong,” Aldonas says. “I think people just don’t understand the facts.” Another example he cites is the complaint the U.S. has filed against China before the World Trade Organization, which China recently joined. Aldonas met with Iowa manufacturers on Tuesday and spoke Wednesday at the Drake Law School in Des Moines.
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