You can keep your Chinese steel

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You can keep your Chinese steel

[cap­tion id=“attachment_105809” align=“aligncenter” width=“800”] The Haikou dur­ing RIM­PAC 2014. U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Offi­cer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery, from Wikipedia[/​caption]

It wasn’t too long ago that the US invited China to par­tic­i­pate in the RIM­PAC Naval Exer­cise. It was pretty amaz­ing to see Chi­nese war­ships, includ­ing the Type 052 destroyer Haikou, at the Pearl Har­bor Naval Sta­tion. Access to the Naval Sta­tion included allow­ing for­eign Sailors to pur­chase items from the Naval Exchange. The exchange had a mas­sive boom in sales, such that they even char­tered a bus to move Sailors back and forth.

When I walked into the NEX I saw the nor­mal pur­chases of alco­hol, cig­ars, Hawai­ian food and the like. I was really sur­prised to see Chi­nese Sailors pur­chas­ing baby for­mula. I was absolutely baf­fled, so I walked over and asked one of them why. He explained that he planned to sell it at home, because nobody trusted Chinese-​made baby formula.

A lit­tle bit of inter­net research lead me to the 2008 Chi­nese milk scan­dal on Wikipedia. A bit of search­ing found some banned videos that had been cir­cu­lat­ing on social media. They’re a bit graphic to post here, but I could tell there was a mas­sive amount of anger from the pop­u­la­tion when over 50,000 babies were injured or killed due to melamine infused milk poisoning.

That lit­tle run in has always sat in the back of my mind, and recently resur­faced in the dis­cus­sion of steel and alu­minum imports. I’m not an econ­o­mist, and tar­iffs go against my pref­er­ence for free trade. But I would always be hap­pier buy­ing Mex­i­can, Cana­dian or Ger­man goods over Chi­nese goods. The fact that the gov­ern­ment of China tried to hush blog­gers about the milk scan­dal doesn’t sit right with me. In the same sense, I don’t know how much I would trust Chi­nese steel. We already don’t trust them much any­way, and appar­ently nei­ther does Mex­ico or New Zealand. As it is, we get more steel from Mex­ico and Canada any­way, and at least their gov­ern­ments aren’t plot­ting to go to war with us.

So if it’s a choice between cheap Chi­nese prod­ucts and prod­ucts from Mex­ico, I’ll take Mex­i­can steel any day of the week.


This post rep­re­sents the views of the author and not those of the Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of the Navy, or any other fed­eral agency.

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The Haikou during RIMPAC 2014. U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery, from Wikipedia

It wasn’t too long ago that the US invited China to participate in the RIMPAC Naval Exercise. It was pretty amazing to see Chinese warships, including the Type 052 destroyer Haikou, at the Pearl Harbor Naval Station. Access to the Naval Station included allowing foreign Sailors to purchase items from the Naval Exchange. The exchange had a massive boom in sales, such that they even chartered a bus to move Sailors back and forth.

When I walked into the NEX I saw the normal purchases of alcohol, cigars, Hawaiian food and the like. I was really surprised to see Chinese Sailors purchasing baby formula. I was absolutely baffled, so I walked over and asked one of them why. He explained that he planned to sell it at home, because nobody trusted Chinese-made baby formula.

A little bit of internet research lead me to the 2008 Chinese milk scandal on Wikipedia. A bit of searching found some banned videos that had been circulating on social media. They’re a bit graphic to post here, but I could tell there was a massive amount of anger from the population when over 50,000 babies were injured or killed due to melamine infused milk poisoning.

That little run in has always sat in the back of my mind, and recently resurfaced in the discussion of steel and aluminum imports. I’m not an economist, and tariffs go against my preference for free trade. But I would always be happier buying Mexican, Canadian or German goods over Chinese goods. The fact that the government of China tried to hush bloggers about the milk scandal doesn’t sit right with me. In the same sense, I don’t know how much I would trust Chinese steel. We already don’t trust them much anyway, and apparently neither does Mexico or New Zealand. As it is, we get more steel from Mexico and Canada anyway, and at least their governments aren’t plotting to go to war with us.

So if it’s a choice between cheap Chinese products and products from Mexico, I’ll take Mexican steel any day of the week.


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.

Did you donate to Da Tech Guy yet? Click that donate box at the top of the page!