Monday, November 21, 2016

International trade--how it helps the global population

What's the cause of international trade and American jobs going off shore? We know our corporate tax rate is the highest in the world.  List of Countries by Corporate Tax Rate  I hope the new president can start there--bring down the taxes to make the United States more competitive.  If Mr. Trump can bring that down, will jobs return; or is it unions, environmental regulations, and the work ethic of Americans who have been told only college educated people should vote or have rights? What about all the products made or grown in the U.S. which are then shipped out and assembled in Vietnam or Bangladesh?  What about the people employed in countries that depend on American based companies? There is a Levi factory in Ouanaminthe, Haiti that is critical for many families.  There would be more if Haiti itself wouldn't be so corrupt in its trade arrangements. I care about American workers, but I also care about the very poor and unemployed in Haiti. It's a very low wage by our standards, but it helps stabilize those developing nations, and perhaps slows the flow of immigrants looking for economic opportunity.

One of the pleasures of volunteering at the pregnancy center is - - folding baby clothes. Sometimes I launder them if a new batch has arrive.  I’ve even ironed them (who in the world would dress a young child in linen with lace and appliqués--probably grandma?). Each new baby's parents who are clients are given a huge shopping bag full of baby items from size zero to about 12 months, onesies, diapers, underwear, seasonal outfits, coat and hat, footwear, sleepers, blankets, towels, with a toy, book and Bible. I love the little Buckeye shirts in size 3 months.  (Parenting classes and mentors are also available, but we can't put them into shopping bags.) Clothing that isn't given as layette gifts because of wear, or they are beyond the age range, are put in "free" boxes for the moms to look through and select.   Some are holiday wear like Halloween, Christmas or Easter that may have been worn only once.

 Here’s what I found last week--in one hour of sorting (by size, season, sex, type) and remember these are donated (used) so I have no idea what year or decade they were made.

 Image of Carter's catalog cover

I‘m assuming anything made in China is the oldest, because many American/global firms have moved to cheaper labor, first to other Asian countries, then Africa and South America. Carter's reports it sells more than 10 products for every child born in the U.S.! It just doesn't tell you, except on the label, where those products are made. The only clue on a company web page, may be a disclaimer like this at Garanimals, if anything is said at all: " Before any of our products can be sold in North America, the materials, paints, sealants and all components that comprise them are tested rigorously by independent testing facilities to ensure their safety."
  • China:  Vitamins Baby, DG Baby, Carter’s, PLC Place, Baby Gear, Osh Kosh, Seseme Street, Strawberry Patch, Fisher Price, First Impressions.
  • Hong Kong: No brand on label
  • Vietnam: swim trunks (no brand label), Baby Gap, Gymboree, Carter’s
  • Thailand: Okie Dokie, Gymboree, Little Lindsey. Carter’s,
  • Cambodia: Carter’s, Faded Glory
  • Malaysia: Carter’s
  • Philippines: Carter’s
  • Sri Lanka: Garanimals
  • Bangladesh: Circo
  • India: Baby Boden, Onesies
  • Arab Emirates: Faded Glory
  • Portugal: Baby Boden
  • El Salvador: Garanimals
  • Honduras: Garanimals
  • Kenya: Faded Glory

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