In 1972 Richard Nixon made the first U.S. presidential visit to China. From this one brief sojourn, a new relationship with the nation began. Over the course of these last few decades, China and the United States have become deeply interconnected. It is a complex love/hate relationship that has half of America infuriated and scared, and the other half hopeful because of the entrepreneurial possibilities in manufacturing through "cheap" labor. This relationship, as dysfunctional as it may seem, is one that will endure, complete with the growing pains and hard-learned lessons that are inevitable.
But the world doesn't stop while these lessons are being learned. The global economy keeps churning and business owners are looking to manufacture products at what has been dubbed the "China Price," or the lowest possible price that can be paid to get something made. As simple as that, thousands of product containers float into American port cities from China each and every day.
With all this cross-country commerce happening at lightning speed, it's easy to forget the foreign hands that have stitched seams on T-shirts and assembled hard goods that are then re-sold stateside within our very industry. It is in those anonymous hands that we entrust not only our business, but our safety and our children's. It is also these hands that depend on us for their safety. Utilizing an ethical and transparent supply chain, American suppliers and distributors can create a socially responsible path for safe products to enter the United States.
DISPELLING THE MYTHS
"20 years ago China was a very different place. We had little information about the outside world," said Helen Wang, Forbes, consultant, expert on China's middle class and author of The Chinese Dream. Over the course of those 20 years, much has changed in The People's Republic. The quick industrialization of this nation has sustained a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate of a whopping 10 percent or better for more than a decade and sprouted a middle class that simply didn't exist beforehand. This rate of growth could be unsettling to Americans whose GDP has dipped to frightful recessionary levels and is now holding steady in the 3 to 4 percent range.