Alliance for American Manufacturing Counters U.S. Plan to Save Jobs in China

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The Alliance for American Manufacturing, which often allies itself with the Steelworkers and other industrial unions on trade and related issues, is starting an online petition to get U.S. residents to denounce GOP President Donald Trump’s plan to save 75,000 factory jobs in China.

“Tell Trump: Do not concede to China!” AAM says on its website, urging people to sign. It wants the president to reverse his stand, announced in a typical Trump tweet, that he wants to save the Chinese jobs at the telecommunications firm ZTE.

ZTE manufactures cheap “smart phones,” many with U.S.-made components from two non-union firms, Intel and Qualcomm. Trump claims ZTE’s sudden shutdown in mid-May would in turn throw workers in its supply chain here out of jobs.

“ZTE is a shady telecommunications company with direct ties to the Chinese government. It is considered a major threat to American security, and has broken trade embargoes with Iran and North Korea,” the Alliance explained. “The Commerce Department

recently banned U.S. companies from providing exports to ZTE for seven years in response.”

The export ban led ZTE to shut down, but Trump tweeted on May 13 that he’s

“working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help ZTE get back into business. This would be a huge mistake.”

“Tell Trump to stand up against China and uphold the ZTE ban,” AAM’s petition retorts.

Trump’s Commerce Department said it imposed the ban because ZTE sold key goods to North Korea and Iran, violating U.S. and international sanctions against those countries for their nuclear weapons development programs.

AAM Executive Director Scott Paul said ZTE’s use of U.S. technology for its phones – use the 7-year export ban cuts off – is part of a long pattern of Chinese cheating.

“There’s no disagreement that China cheats. The only question is, do we continue to ignore China’s cheating or do we finally act decisively to stop it?” Paul said.

For example, the Machinists have previously pointed out that as a condition for letting Boeing manufacture aircraft components in China, the firm must turn over proprietary technology to the Chinese. That turnover and subsequent Chinese reproduction of the technology, deprives Boeing’s unionized U.S. workers of jobs.

Congressional Democrats aren’t happy about Trump’s ZTE decision, either.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., speaking on behalf of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, told his colleagues on May 15 that – at the start of Infrastructure Week -- “apparently, the president, in his tweet, said he is concerned about the lost jobs in China.”

“And, therefore, he has ordered the Commerce Department to end the restrictions on this Chinese telecom company so that that company can buy some things from the United States and can then have a lot of jobs in China. Gee, Mr. President,” he said, addressing the House Speaker, “I thought it was about making America great again, not making China great again.”                                



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