'While plain corruption affects environmentally sensitive construction all over the world, the Port of Tianjin is a convoluted legacy of state power used for market purposes that has made it all the more flagrant'.
Global corporations are coming back to the US because the level of environmental damage and social unrest because of decades of enslavement in factory sweat shops are de-stablizing Asian nations and those leaders are now telling global corporations to GET OUT. So, Trans Pacific Trade Pact is policy that seeks to allow those global corporations to come to the US to do the same to American workers and our environment. We are seeing Congress and our state assemblies passing laws lowering the protections on railroad transport of hazardous materials because they expect the US will be building lots of these chemical plants shown below----AND YOUR POLS KNOW THIS WILL BE THE RESULT.
GET RID OF CLINTON WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS AND BUSH NEO-CONS---ALL MARYLAND POLS ARE GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS.
I want people to get an idea of what life will be like living in or near a FOXCONN campus.....
The Tianjin Explosion: A Tragedy of Profit, Corruption, and China’s Complicated Transition
by chuang | Aug 21, 2015 | Blog
Photo by EPA.
Late into the night on August 12, two massive explosions rocked the Port of Tianjin, immediately killing dozens and injuring hundreds of people. The explosions appear to have been caused by several hundred tons of unsafely stored sodium cyanide, in the container storage lot of Ruihai Logistics, a firm specializing in the transport and storage of hazardous materials. As of 9am August 19, 114 people were confirmed dead, among them 19 Public Security Bureau firefighters, 34 port firefighters, and 7 police officers; a further 65 people are missing, while 674 have been hospitalized. While public organs and journalists continue to investigate the exact causes of the blast, the backstory to the tragedy has gradually come to light. Ruihai, its insecure workers, the frantic development of the Port of Tianjin, and the especially severe abuses of power resulting from a powerful state bureau turning into a capitalist enterprise – all these are parts of the picture.
The Port of Tianjin
If an explosion were to happen at any port in China, Tianjin would have been a likely candidate. Handling more than 477 million tons of cargo and 13 million TEUs in 2013, Tianjin is the 3rd busiest port by raw tonnage and 10th busiest container port in the world. It has a long history as a major trading port in China: an important foreign concession forced open in the Second Opium war, it continued to function as a major port during the socialist era, and then grew by leaps and bounds after “Reform and Opening” (economic liberalization) began in 1978. Tianjin is the closest major port to Beijing, and part of the important Bohai Economic Zone, one of the three clusters of economic development--along with the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta—that have benefited most from China’s economic liberalization. For Tianjin and its port, the past thirty years of reform have meant explosive and sometimes careless growth.
The chemical industry that erupted last week arose as Tianjin began to avidly court foreign investment. On May 12, 1991, with the approval of the State Council, the Tianjin port became the site of a bonded zone—the largest in Northern China, measuring 5 square kilometers. Since its founding, the Tianjin Port Bonded Zone has maintained a startling annual growth rate of over 30% per year, and is now home to more than 500 logistics companies and 3000 trading companies, maintaining regular trade ties with over 100 countries. It functions as an international trading center, a logistics center, a port-side processing zone, and a sales and exhibition center. Operating in the zone comes with tax, customs, and foreign exchange benefits. The cheap labor and investment incentives in the Tianjin Bonded have attracted well-known chemical companies to invest in the area, inviting clusters of dangerous chemical factories into the city. The chemical and hazardous chemicals industry has become one of the ten major industries in the Tianjin Bonded Zone, home also to heavy industries like steel and auto. 
Chemical factories have recently become a hot topic for environmentalist and NIMBY-style civilian protests—famously in Wukan in 2012, and in Shanghai this year. But logistics centers, where these foreign-bound chemicals are shipped in and out, are less visible yet even more dangerous nodes in the supply chains of global chemically-dependent industry. Tianjin is a reminder of this reality.
Responsibility and collusion: Ruihai’s sketchy approval process
While the Tianjin explosion is an incident reminiscent of the Lac-Megantic train derailment, a disaster that reminds us of the significance and dangers of the extensive modern supply chain, the disaster was also a uniquely Chinese incident—the product of powerful state institutions transforming into hefty commercial enterprises, management becoming directly subservient to commercial logic.
A lot of the conversation around responsibility for the Ruihai case has focused on the sketchy approval process for the company’s hazardous materials handling. Ruihai International Logistics was founded in 2012 with an initial capital of 50 million yuan, for storage and transport operations. It now handles 1 million tons of freight annually and has an annual income of over 30 million yuan. While the company had long dealt primarily in hazardous materials, handling chemicals for a major domestic chemical company, it was not until June 23 2015, just months before the accident, that Ruihai received the proper documentation to handle hazardous materials at the port. Clearly, for two or three years, someone had turned a blind eye to Ruihai’s operations.
Ruihai was allowed to operate at the port without any apparent external oversight. This may be because the Tianjin Port Group, the port’s commercial operator, doubles as its own regulator. When reporters sought out the Binhai New District’s Work Safety Committee—the body normally responsible for hazardous chemical business approvals—for questioning about Ruihai’s operating credentials, they were told the Committee had nothing to do with Ruihai’s approval. This was not merely deferral of responsibility. Ruihai’s documents were approved by the Tianjin Port Group, which has a set of independent approval procedures not subject to Binhai New District’s control. The permits they applied for were the “People’s Republic of China Port Operations Permit” and “Port Dangerous Cargo Handling License”—granted by the Tianjin Port Group—rather than the more common “Hazardous Chemicals Operation Permit”. The Port Group, which profited from Ruihai’s illegal and unsafe business, was at the same time the entity responsible for overseeing and licensing the company.
The conversion of political power into economic weight is again reinforced by familial ties. Since the explosion, reporters have uncovered that Li Liang (李亮 ), the company’s main shareholder and its legal representative until the position transferred to Zhi Feng (只峰) January 29 this year, is the nephew of former Politburo member and chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Li Ruihuan (李瑞环) and for this reason the company has received “conveniences” throughout its short few years of existence. The connection is reinforced in the company name: Li Liang’s father Li Ruihai (李瑞海), Li Ruihuan’s younger brother. Meanwhile, secondary shareholder Shu Zheng has pleaded innocent, claiming that he is merely the nominal shareholder on behalf of friend Dong Shexuan (董社轩), son of the late Tianjin Port Public Security Bureau chief Dong Peijun (董培军). The people so far connected to the company are a complicated web of other major players in the chemical industry and major officials. While the details of the case are still being sorted out, that Ruihai involved significant transformation of political capital into economic heft is undeniable.
These powerful connections as well as the independent authority of the port allowed Ruihai to operate under blatantly illegal conditions, even after its official licensing. The direct connections to the explosion are obvious. Whereas the Tianjin Administration of Work Safety’s standards for hazardous chemical handling required stacks of containers to be kept at least 0.8 meters apart, that no more than 500 grams of chemicals be stored together, and that the total amount of chemicals be no more than 2 tons, Ruihai kept its stacks a mere 0.4-0.5 meters apart, and would store 6-30 tons of chemical in one container, according to two truckers working for the company. Furthermore, Ruihai was only permitted to store its hazardous chemicals in the port’s heavy container storage area, but logistics worker Li Hua told reporters that the company instead kept most of its chemicals in transitional storage. Ruihai’s riding roughshod over regulations also put nearby communities in harms way. Regulations mandate that dangerous chemical be stored at least 1000 meters from public buildings or major thoroughfares, but Ruihai’s storage area was constructed a mere 600 meters from two existing residential communities that house over 1000 residents. Once again, they proceeded without anyone raising a cry.
While plain corruption affects environmentally sensitive construction all over the world, the Port of Tianjin is a convoluted legacy of state power used for market purposes that has made it all the more flagrant.
The Independent Kingdom of the Tianjin Port
The status of the port as an entity independent from the city also significantly affects the leeway Ruihai exercised. This is a legacy dating back to socialist times. China’s major logistics and transportation arteries once operated under direct state control; its ports and railroads once operated as independent kingdoms, powerful state bureaus that managed the living conditions of workers as well as all aspects of operations, independent of local government. The Tianjin Port Group was formerly the Transportation Department Tianjin Port Management Bureau (交通部天津港务管理局). Answering directly to the central government Transportation Department, it operated independently of local Tianjin authorities. It was only in 1984, in the early days of reform, that the Transportation Department Tianjin Port Management Bureau became simply the Tianjin Port Bureau (天津港务局), coming under the control of the municipality of Tianjin with the Central Transportation Department as secondary overseer. Further reforms in 2001 cut the port off from the Transportation Department, and put it fully under the management of Tianjin. But while the port’s designation changed, its staff did not, and port business remained largely out of the grasp of local government.
This was still the case when in 2004, when under central government directives to separate port operations from port administration, the Tianjin Port Bureau became the commercial entity the Tianjin Port Group Ltd. (天津集团有限公司) and administrative control over the port was handed to the Tianjin Transportation Committee (天津交通委员会). The Transportation Committee, however, stayed out of the picture while a newly commercialized port accustomed to operating as an independent kingdom kept control over most aspects of operations, from business decisions to operations licensing to hiring its own police force outside of the municipal government system. Effectively, the Tianjin port changed hands from one administrative home to another and transitioned from a state bureau to a commercial enterprise, without ever changing its internal composition and remaining largely a self-governing zone. The port has retained the independent power and economic weight it once had, while shifting its mandate from one of paternalistic overseeing of the well-being of workers and working on behalf of the national economy to one of making profit for itself. This has transformed the weight of an old state bureau into a powerful company subject to little outside control.
Insecurity and flexibility: the port as commercial enterprise
The dispatch worker firefighters who rushed to the scene, dozens of whom died in the explosions, epitomize the transition of the port. The port’s former identity as a State Bureau and socialist institution have made no difference for the Port of Tianjin when it comes to the trend of casualization hitting manual labor jobs like port and logistics work everywhere. Ruihai Logistics had a workforce of 70 full time employees and 20 dispatch workers at the time of the explosion, well above China’s legal maximum of a 10% dispatch workforce. This is a common phenomenon in the warehousing and logistics industries around the world, which rely heavily of temp workforces and labor contracting agencies that respond flexibly to the ups and downs of the market cycle in just-in-time production. Yet what startled observers was not the temporary condition of Ruihai’s logistics workers, but the temporary workforce doing the critical work of port firefighting.
The Port of Tianjin firefighters, independently managed by the port, are not the normal public servants that serve other places, but rather contract workers managed by a company, which is in turn hired by the port. The firefighters are hired and fired as needed. This is another way in which the port keeps its operating costs low and reduces its burden of staff management. The revelation of the contract worker status of port firefighters left many civilians asking, should such a risky and critical profession be left to contract workers? Why was the port allowed to keep such matters in its own hands? The answer is clearly no. While public firefighters later arrive on the scene too, the private port firefighters who were stationed the closest and arrived first on the scene make up 34 of the 53 firefighters who died. Alive they were subject to the whims of the port, who could hire and fire them at will. Dead, it is only with the public scandal that the explosion has caused that they were promised equal compensation. Li Keqiang in the wake of the explosion made a point of stating it didn’t matter whether firefighters belong to the state administration or not, they were carrying out the same duties and deserve equal compensation. That the situation begs the premier’s clarification says all that needs to be said. One can imagine the situation these workers who regularly risk their lives would face were they to be maimed or to perish in obscurity.
As for Ruihai’s own workers, it is unclear how many who died were temp workers, but as groundbreaking.cn notes, we know from the Kunshan explosion and other such disasters who is usually on the ground in the middle of the night. Of the 97 people who died in that explosion at 7am in the morning, every single one was illegally hired. In such things, it is always the most vulnerable who are sacrificed.
Of the Tianjin accident, too much was not accidental. Neither the rampant pressure for growth that gave birth to shortcuts and heedless rule-breaking, nor the collusion of profit-making and regulatory powers that came with the state working towards privatization. It was not an accident that the explosion site was situated so close to housing complexes with over 1000 residents, nor that Ruihai’s blatantly illegal handling of explosive chemicals was ignored. It was not an accident that many of those who died were contract workers, living day-to-day without security, and even in death, without guarantee of compensation. Tianjin reminds us of the critical role that the logistics industry plays in the global market, and of the insecure workers who often staff it.
I listened to Fox News last night to see my Baltimore City Council person-----CARL STOKES----head of Baltimore City Finance----the most corrupt section of city hall. Carl has been selling himself as friend of his low-income constituents as he is the face of doing anything a Wall Street developer tells him. Don't fall for the 'good cop/bad cop' routine.
Carl was reporting on the likelihood of UnderArmour Corporation taking a massive chunk of real estate along the Port of Baltimore in West Baltimore. Supposedly a land deal having the Maryland Aquarium build a public nature park fell through and now the city is considering SELLING THAT VAST PIECE OF LAND TO WHAT WAS ALWAYS EXPECTED TO BE A FOXCONN FACTORY COMPLEX FOR UNDERARMOUR.
I need people to understand the size and diversity of these global factory complexes because they are not manufacturing just enough sports wear, sports equipment, et al for Maryland and surrounding states----these FOXCONN factories are geared for mass production for global product sales. So, they will shout JOBS, JOBS, JOBS---- while UnderArmour makes sure all US laws allow it to operate as it does in third world nations. THAT IS WHAT AN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ZONE IS ABOUT UNDER TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT----complete with the slave labor for which they are known overseas.
'Of the Tianjin accident, too much was not accidental. Neither the rampant pressure for growth that gave birth to shortcuts and heedless rule-breaking, nor the collusion of profit-making and regulatory powers that came with the state working towards privatization'.
Carl stated he does not care who owns this prime real estate right on water's edge---prime wetland environmentally critical to the health of the Chesapeake Bay.....AS LONG AS THERE IS PUBLIC ACCESS. This is the Carl that is bought and paid for by global corporations and Baltimore Development that could care less that his constituents will be forced into these sweat shops and their communities contaminated with pollution. See why Baltimore was going to place a hazardous waste incinerator right there in West Baltimore----there is a lot of hazardous waste from textiles and global health tourism.
ALL OF THESE BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL POLS AND THE MAYOR---ALONG WITH THE MARYLAND ASSEMBLY POLS WORK AS HARD AS THEY CAN TO MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO LAWS PROTECTING THE CITIZENS AGAINST LABOR ABUSE AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEVASTATION.
'After a factory fire in March caused a textile company to close, the company refused to pay 4,000 workers the $600 to $700 in legally required severance they were owed. (None were injured in the blaze.) While Cambodian workers marched on the boss en masse, the Worker Rights Consortium, a factory monitoring group established by anti-sweatshop campaigners, pressured Under Armour and Russell Athletic. They were two of the brands that purchased the factory’s goods.'
Economic action to end sweatshop and forced child labor
What to Know
Q. What is a sweatshop and how bad is the problem?
A. The US Department of Labor defines a sweatshop as any factory that violates two or more labor laws, such as those pertaining to wages and benefits, working hours, and child labor. Anti-sweatshop advocates go further to say that beyond following the letter of the law (which can be very weak in many countries that attract sweatshops), a factory pay a living wage in safe working conditions, enforce reasonable work hours, provide for sick leave and maternity leave, and allow workers to organize to avoid being labeled a sweatshop.
Because no single definition exists (and because sweatshops don’t want to be uncovered), it’s difficult to assess the worldwide scope of the problem. Compounding this difficulty is the “race to the bottom,” which means that companies don’t always let their sweatshop factories stay in one place, if they can shift their manufacturing to ever-cheaper and less-regulated locations. For example, the number of sweatshops in Mexico soared in the 1990s after NAFTA enticed companies to close their US operations and move south. As global manufacturing costs continued to shift, many companies then moved their operations from Mexico to even more attractive Asian countries. And more recently still, after the US-Jordan Free Trade agreement went into effect in 2000, the number of sweatshops in that country exploded as well. Between 2000 and 2005, apparel exports from Jordan to the US soared 2000 percent, often due to the round-the-clock labor of guest workers from poor Asian countries who were following the jobs as they moved.
Q: But if companies have to cut costs to stay competitive, aren’t sweatshops inevitable?
A: No. Low prices are only one of many factors consumers take into account when they shop, and most consumers don’t willingly purchase goods made in sweatshops.
Reporting for Dollars and Sense magazine in 2006, sweatshop expert John Miller (who teaches a class on sweatshops at Wheaton College) explained how paying decent wages to workers at the beginning of the supply chain has little effect on a company’s competiveness. “In Mexico’s apparel industry, economists from the Political Economy Research Institute found that doubling the pay of nonsupervisory workers would add just $1.80 to the cost of a $100 men’s sports jacket,” explained Miller. “And a recent survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research Found that US consumers would be willing to pay $115 for the same jacket if they knew it had not been made under sweatshop conditions.”
Living wages and reasonable working hours would not threaten companies’ overall profitability. Noone should have to work 17-hour days just so Americans can save a few dollars on clothes.
Q: Doesn’t low-wage sweatshop employment help alleviate poverty; aren’t sweatshops a necessary step on the road to economic development?
A: No. Sweatshop workers are trapped in a cycle of exploitation that rarely improves their economic situation.
“In many cases, countries’ minimum wages are insufficient to climb out of poverty,” says Todd Larsen, Green America’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program Director. “What’s more, sweatshop watchdog groups continually find factories that pay illegal wages, lower even than the minimum.”
Consider the example cited in a 2003 National Labor Committee report on a Honduran worker sewing clothing for Wal-Mart at a rate of 43 cents an hour. After spending money on daily meals and transportation to work, the average worker is left with around 80 cents per day for rent, bills, child care, school costs, medicines, emergencies, and other expenses.
If sweatshops were a necessary step toward economic development, they would not exist in the world’s most delevoped economies, yet sweatshops continue to be uncovered even in the United States. For example, PBS premiered the film “Made in LA” in the fall of 2007, documenting recent sweatshop abuses in Southern California.
Q: Isn’t it time-consuming and expensive for corporations to track their goods’ origins?
A: No, actually most corporations already track their goods to the subcontractor or factory level in order to monitor the quality of their products.
“In competitive industries like the apparel industry, all companies have quality control,” says Nikki Bas, executive director of Sweatshop Watch. “If companies are able to send representatives to inspect the quality of a garment, they can inspect the quality of their factories as well.”
Q: Do some companies track their goods to keep sweatshop labor out of their supply chains, and mark their products with a special label?
A: Unfortunately, no overarching “sweatshop-free” label exists, though a union label is a good indicator that at a minimum workers are free to organize and have a voice.
In addition, since the mid-1990s, a number of “social auditing” organizations have emerged, and companies may now coordinate with one to inspect their factories for sweatshop abuses, to greater or lesser degrees of success.
These organizations operate under a number of different structures. For example, Verité, operates as a nonprofit organization, inspecting factories on behalf of their client companies, which pay Verité a fee to perform audits and help facilitate follow-up correction programs for violations. (Verité does not make its findings public because conditions can change so quickly in faraway factories.)
Another example, Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production (WRAP), operates as a 501(c)6 corporation, and makes its list of inspected and certified factories available on its Web site, searchable by country, as a resource for companies in search of factories. Established by the American Apparel and Footwear Association, WRAP has come under fire from anti-sweatshop organizations as having weak codes of conduct and operating too closely with the apparel industry.
Similarly, the Fair Labor Association, which contracts with specific companies to perform inspections, has fallen out of favor with many activists over concerns about poor enforcement and corporate influence.
Whichever monitoring organization a company might use (and there are many more), the bottom-line concern among anti-sweatshop activists lies in the lack of transparency to the consumer of the findings, as well as the inability of inspectors to stay aware of factory conditions at all times. Instances of factories improving their conditions specifically for inspections are well-documented, and critics further charge that monitoring organizations lengthen the supply chain, relieving companies of their responsibility to vouch personally for the conditions of their factories.
Q. If something is made in the USA does that automatically mean it is sweatshop-free?
A: No. In general, countries with strong labor laws (not just the US, but several European countries, Cambodia, and others) may produce fewer sweatshop abuses than countries with weaker or non-existent laws, but no one country is automatically sweatshop-free. Not only have grievous sweatshop abuses been uncovered in mainland US factories, but also factories operating in US territories (where sweatshop abuses have been well-documented for many years) may also use the “made in the USA” label, despite being exempt from certain US labor laws.
For example, for many years garment workers in Saipan, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) have been exploited under the islands’ exemption to US labor laws. Efforts to bring CNMI under US law have long been stymied by lobbyists and lawmakers sympathetic with exploitative garment businessess, though as this guide was going to press, the US Senate voted to finally extend federal labor and immigration laws to CNMI.
Meanwhile, Bill Ferguson, city council person for this West Baltimore area looking just like a next generation Martin O'Malley is busy creating a Maryland State Stat-----because if these is no Federal government creating social stats then states and cities will have to. If you are building a State Stat for Baltimore and you have UnderArmour FOXCONN coming with all its pollution and hazardous waste----along with a big UMMS FOXCONN PHARMA bio-tech/health tourism campus as Bill Ferguson does----you are going to need to hide LOTS OF HEALTH, POLLUTION, AND ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGES BY JUKING THE STATE STATS AS O'MALLEY HAS FOR HIS ENTIRE TERMS IN OFFICE.
Bill Ferguson, as all the other Baltimore City Hall pols pushing hard for the most privatized K-career college end to public education knows------his district's public schools will simply become attached to this UnderArmour campus where children will be apprenticeship K-12 training just to be textile UnderArmour sports equipment workers. The 'public school' right on campus----workers living in worker dormatories and eating at worker cafeterias ----JUST AS THEY DO IN CHINA AND CAMBODIA.
BOY, DOES YOUR BALTIMORE CITY HALL AND MARYLAND ASSEMBLY POLS REALLY, REALLY HATE THEIR CONSTITUENTS NO MATTER RACE OR CLASS! SHOW ME THE MONEY NO DOUBT HAS THEM THINK THEY ARE INVESTED IN THESE GLOBAL DEALS---BUT THEY ARE BEING PLAYED.
Now, UnderArmour is very much a textile manufacturer so will have textile factories, dye factories, garment-making factories, and lots of marketing/call center employment. How many high-skilled good paying jobs? Very few and don't worry----UnderArmour will bring those workers from overseas to be paid as they are overseas. Bill Ferguson and all Baltimore City Hall know that is what they are building when they pass all these laws-----
DO YOU REALLY THINK GLOBAL CORPORATIONS COMING BACK TO THE US WILL BE AFFECTED BY LABOR PROTESTS AND SHAMING BY SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVISTS?
We must stop this NOW before it moves along. We can make Baltimore's economy a domestic, local and regional manufacturing economy tied to supplying Maryland ordinary products and get more JOBS JOBS JOBS while working under Constitutional law and civil and labor rights protections. STOP ALLOWING THESE GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS TO TIE OUR ECONOMY TO GLOBAL CORPORATIONS.
Marist students urged to raise their voices against sweatshops
By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published January 8, 2015
“As a Catholic community, we have a different measuring stick for success,” he said, not letting corporations prosper at the expense of unprotected low-paid workers in the developing world.
Educator and social activist Jim Keady, standing, bottom left, presents his talk, “Behind the Swoosh: Sweatshops and Social Justice,” to the high school student body at Marist School, Atlanta, in December 2014. Keady is also the founding director of Educating for Justice, Inc. Photo By Michael Alexander
“This is where the Gospel gets real, gets messy,” said Keady.
Since the 1990s, Keady, a small business owner in New Jersey, has specifically challenged Nike, Inc., to change its labor practices. His motivation comes from Catholic social teaching, which promotes a just wage and safe working conditions for workers, he said.
Keady spoke at the school in early December. In his presentation he displayed quotes from Nike leaders and contrasted them with photos and anecdotes he heard from people working in Nike’s contract factories in Indonesia. He lived there for a month in 2000, relying on factory wages. After paying for food and housing, there was little money left for other necessities, he said.
Overall, Keady told the gym of young people, more than 90 percent of their clothing is made in sweatshop conditions.
Marist’s athletic uniforms are made by the Under Armour company. In fact, a sound of disappointment filled the gym when Keady told them Under Armour uses factories where there are poor working conditions, long hours and low wages.
“They do the same things. Sorry to break the news,” he said.
UnderArmour entered the sporting goods industry at a time all brands were outed for being sweat shops with no values. Of course----UnderArmour sold itself as the anti-bad boy----and as we see below they are already sinking with no signs of taking all this GREEN/Social conscience mantra seriously.
A Code lies Beneath the Armour?
According to Under Armour’s “Code”:
“Under Armour was founded on the following core values: Innovation, Inspiration, Reliability, and Integrity. Consistent with these values, we seek to do business with suppliers and their subcontractors that adhere to these practices, follow established work place practices and comply with our Code of Conduct.”[iv]
By this standard, UA has committed to maintain a standard above and beyond the industry and consumer expectations and requires all employees and vendors/suppliers to adhere to the “Code” as well. This includes sensitive issues such as child labor, fair wages, safe work environment, forced labor, and reasonable working hours. For countries that do not meet those standards set forth by UA, business conducted with all vendors and third party agencies including a minimum wage and maximum work hours per week practices, UA requires these be adhered to while doing business.
In 2010, the “Code” was challenged by the Apparel Supply Chain Compliance Program survey developed by As You Sow Foundation which is dedicated to “promote corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, grant-making, and innovative legal strategies” and “A safe, just, and sustainable world in which environmental health and human rights are central to corporate decision making.”[v] This voluntary survey, created in part by Verite, a non-profit agency, indicated that UA received the overall score of C-. Their 1.9 rating (on a 4.0 scale) was nearly half of Levi Strauss & CO’s 3.4. Additionally, UA received low marks for management accountability and transparency.[vi] Further examination of the report shows that although UA understands what management decision could be undertaken to improve their scores, their grades on providing resources to improve their practices were lacking. The only other active wear participants were Columbia Sportswear and Gildan Activewear Inc, both scoring higher than UA at 2.0 and 3.0 respectively.[vii] Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that although Under Armour takes CSR seriously, they have yet to put forth a comprehensive resource package that would enable Under Armour to earn higher marks across the board in the future. As Robbin Jaffin, Director, Supplier Programs for Verite mentions, “Global firms must have visibility and accountability for all relationships both direct and indirect in implementing global standards of responsibility.”[viii]
We had a justice organization work hard to reverse a decision to install a toxic waste incinerator in a West Baltimore community but we need to know-----IT WILL COME BACK AND IT WILL BE IN WEST BALTIMORE AS WILL BE TRUE OF EAST BALTIMORE AS THE SAME FOXCONN CAMPUSES ARE BUILT. WE ARE TALKING BAD POLLUTION AND WE ARE TALKING RIGHT ON WATER'S EDGE OF THE PORT OF BALTIMORE.
This is why environmental groups calling themselves Clean Water----Blue Water and of course Baltimore City's new global corporate water partners calling themselves CleanWater.org VEOLA ENVIRONMENT----ARE ALL PROGRESSIVE POSERS. What is unfolding is no secret to most people in national organizations and all pols know it. So, there would be lots of environmental groups shouting loudly throughout Obama's terms knowing Obama/Clinton neo-liberals were building this International Economic Zone structure across the nation.
WE ALL KNOW IT WILL HAVE THE US LOOKING LIKE CHINA AND YET----NO ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS WILL OUT THE GOALS OF THESE FOXCONN CORPORATE CAMPUSES BEING BUILT ON WATER'S EDGE.
When Catherine Pugh shouts out to her Freddie Grey West Baltimore district that she will fight to create jobs for her constituents---THEY WILL BE THE SWEAT SHOP LABOR FOR THE BIOTECH FACTORIES AND THIS UNDER ARMOUR FACTORY.
When Republicans in rural counties who no doubt have loved having Baltimore operating under the most neo-conservative of Johns Hopkins and Wall Street Baltimore Development and vote for all this corporate power and deregulation finds out that they will be forced to work at these factories being brought in from rural areas by the bus loads. THIS IS AN EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY THIRD WORLD SOCIETY. What are all these immigrant workers being encouraged to come to Maryland and Baltimore staged to do? WORK IN THESE SWEATSHOP FACTORIES AS THEY DO ON THE WEST COAST.
So, CASA Maryland, NAACP, Maryland AFL-CIO all labor and justice coming out every election for the most Wall Street Clinton neo-liberal candidates like O'Malley and Brown-----like all Baltimore City crony pols---and these leaders all know where these global Economic Zone policies go---THEY ARE SELLING OUT THEIR MEMBERSHIP/CONSTITUENTS.
What Kinds of Pollution Do Textile Factories Give Off?
by Karen Rogers, Demand Media
The toxic chemicals used to create textiles are major sources of pollution from textile factory operations. Factories use polyvinyl chloride to size fabrics, chlorine bleach to lighten a fabric’s color, benzidine and toluidine as dyeing agents and flame retardants that are known cancer-causing agents. Other toxic chemicals that are used in everyday operations are formaldehyde, lead and mercury. Fabrics are washed and rewashed as they move down the production line. Releasing this untreated chemical wastewater brew can pollute waterways and groundwater sources.
As textiles move through the production process, numerous life-threatening pollutants left untreated can contaminate the air. Factory boilers that heat the water release nitrous oxides and sulphur dioxides. Carbon monoxide is released from factory sizing operations. Bleaching operations release chlorine dioxide, and fabric printing releases hydrocarbons and ammonia. Fabric-finishing operations can release formaldehyde into the air. Without EPA safeguards, these toxic vapors would remain suspended in the air and be carried by the wind to pollute other areas.
Textile manufacturing operations create large amounts of toxic and nontoxic solid waste. Fibers, hemp, yarn and fabrics are solid waste that are created directly from production lines. The cones, looms and cardboard reels used to hold fibers and textiles during manufacturing add to a factory’s solid-waste pollution. Common toxic-solid waste pollutants include the storage drums and plastic containers used to hold hazardous chemicals and solvents. Leftover powdered dyes and dye containers, scrap metal, oily cloths and wastewater sludge can contaminate the soil and groundwater sources if not properly disposed of or released untreated.
Baltimore City Hall has given all of downtown and now UnderArmour development corporate tax breaks, subsidies, and in exchange UnderArmour donates things for more tax write-offs all while being called a good corporate citizen. Their marketing tries to play off of NIKE's bad reputation but all the signs are that UnderArmour will be NIKE. As we see below, already this corporation is ignoring contracts and labor laws-----and the Trans Pacific Trade Pact and International Economic Zone establishment has not even happened. If WE THE PEOPLE do not become engaged and be the candidate in all Democratic and Republican primaries that work for a domestic economy and keeping global corporations at bay-----these structures will be in place in a decade. Do any of these Baltimore pols have children/grandchildren? Do they really think they are going to be the sweat shop factory owners or is it stock options in these corporations that have them selling out the citizens of Baltimore? THE STOCK MARKET WILL BE PRIVATE ONLY IN NO TIME AND THESE GLOBAL CORPORATIONS HAVE OBLIGATIONS TO THOSE MADE RICH OVERSEAS FROM SWEAT SHOP OPERATIONS.
Let' get back to what Baltimore City really needs------a strong DOMESTIC economy with small and regional factory manufacturing----with an economy fueled with rebuilding communities left to crumble so these mega-FOXCONN operations could move in. We can have most people in Baltimore City employed, protected by Rule of Law and Equal Protection, and able to accumulate wealth because the economy is stable and wages are Living Wage and middle-class. IT WOULD ONLY TAKE TWO ELECTION CYCLES OF VOTING FOR GOOD PEOPLE RUNNING IN YOUR COMMUNITIES---STOP ALLOWING THESE CRONY POLITICAL MACHINES MAKE YOU DESPERATE FOR JOBS.
Sagamore to use Aquarium land in Port Covington Baltimore, MD --
This old city garage at 101 W. Dickman St. will be converted into a makerspace for business start-ups under Kevin Plank's ambitious plans for the land his Sagamore Development has acquired in Port Covington.
(Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun) By Jeff Barker The Baltimore Sun
Sagamore gains access to Aquarium land in Port Covington Kevin Plank's Sagamore Development Co. can use land owned by a unit of the National Aquarium in Port Covington for a planned technology incubator nearby, under a new agreement.
The agreement grants Sagamore easements over the northern edge of a parcel owned by the Center for Aquatic Life and Conservation at 2400 Clarkson Street, a Sagamore spokesperson said Friday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
That land is to be used by the planned innovation center "for the purpose of parking, access, landscaping and construction," the spokesperson said.
- Another day, another Sun free ad for Kevin Plank. Anyone at the Sun ever worry that unlike most cities, Baltimore seems to have only ONE business? Or maybe it just seems that way because the publisher or someone at the Sun is getting 'discounts' on all the Under Armour thay can haul... wagner1 at 4:35 PM August 01, 2015
Sagamore has amassed at least 148 acres in Port Covington and is planning a mixed-use development and new campus for Under Armour, the sports apparel company founded by Plank. Some work already has begun, including the conversion of a former Sam's Club into Under Armour offices and a new rye whiskey distillery called Sagamore Spirit.
Sagamore also acquired 43 acres in Westport, across the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River from Port Covington, at a bankruptcy auction earlier this year.
The term Economic Zone is a neo-liberal term--- all of this economic policy was written and installed by the US in Asian nations with those leaders assured to become rich. So, when we see the US making itself into an International Economic Zone, the Asian nations that will build these Economic Zones will do so under the direction of the global corporations tied to them. There will be nothing American about any of this. Each International Economic Zone will have a government structure at the local level that is wired right to the global corporate tribunal structure. We will have no real Federal government other than bodies that conduct international law which is where Clinton/Bush/Obama have been taking the Federal government. Today, Obama has it operating as almost only international defense and law. ALL THE US CONSTITUTION IS STILL RIGHT THERE-------IT IS SIMPLY BEING IGNORED ILLEGALLY. IT IS A COUP AND IT IS TREASON IF TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT TRIES TO MAKE ALL THIS OFFICIAL. If the American people simply run to remove these global pols---neo-liberal or neo-con----we can simply return to the business of being a first world social capitalist republic
FOR THOSE POLS WHO THINK THEY ARE GOING TO BE MADE RICH LIKE THOSE OVERSEAS-----WALL STREET AND US CORPORATIONS DO NOT NEED TO PAY OFF WHAT THEY ALREADY CONTROL.
Baltimore is ground zero for moving these Asian partners into the US, orientating them, and sending them around the country. Johns Hopkins has made a business of it. Again, these Asian immigrants are not the bad guys----they need protection as any immigrant would----they are simply players being moved by global corporations. The wealthy foreign investors---not so much sympathy ----- UnderArmour will not have UnderArmour factories---they will have these global partnerships moving to their FOXCONN campus for example.
The article below is long but take a moment to glance through----all you do is need to think what the goals are of these policies being introduced one issue at a time----
Does China Plan To Establish “China Cities” And “Special Economic Zones” All Over America?
By Michael Snyder, on January 22nd, 2013
What in the world is China up to? Over the past several years, the Chinese government and large Chinese corporations (which are often at least partially owned by the government) have been systematically buying up businesses, homes, farmland, real estate, infrastructure and natural resources all over America. In some cases, China appears to be attempting to purchase entire communities in one fell swoop. So why is this happening? Is this some form of “economic colonization” that is taking place? Some have speculated that China may be intending to establish “special economic zones” inside the United States modeled after the very successful Chinese city of Shenzhen. Back in the 1970s, Shenzhen was just a very small fishing village, but now it is a sprawling metropolis of over 14 million people. Initially, these “special economic zones” were only established within China, but now the Chinese government has been buying huge tracts of land in foreign countries such as Nigeria and establishing special economic zones in those nations. So could such a thing actually happen in America? Well, according to Dr. Jerome Corsi, a plan being pushed by the Chinese Central Bank would set up “development zones” in the United States that would allow China to “establish Chinese-owned businesses and bring in its citizens to the U.S. to work.” Under the plan, some of the $1.17 trillion that the U.S. owes China would be converted from debt to “equity”. As a result, “China would own U.S. businesses, U.S. infrastructure and U.S. high-value land, all with a U.S. government guarantee against loss.” Does all of this sound far-fetched? Well, it isn’t. In fact, the economic colonization of America is already far more advanced than most Americans would dare to imagine.
So how in the world did we get to this point? A few decades ago, the United States was the unchallenged economic powerhouse of the world and China was essentially a third world country.
So what happened?
Well, we entered into a whole bunch of extremely unfavorable “free trade” agreements, and countries such as China began to aggressively use “free trade” as an economic weapon against us.
Over the past decade, we have lost tens of thousands of businesses and millions of jobs to China. When the final numbers for 2012 come out, our trade deficit with China for the year will be well over 300 billion dollars, and that will be the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the world.
Overall, the U.S. has run a trade deficit with China over the past decade that comes to more than 2.3 trillion dollars. That 2.3 trillion dollars could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers, and in turn taxes would have been paid on all of that money. But instead, all of that money went to China.
Rather than just sitting on all of that money, China has been lending much of it back to us – at interest. We now owe China more than a trillion dollars, and our politicians are constantly pleading with China to lend more money to us so that we can finance our exploding debt.
Today, the U.S. government pays China approximately 100 million dollars a day in interest on the debt that we owe them. Those that say that the U.S. debt “does not matter” are being incredibly foolish.
So thanks to our massive trade deficit and our exploding national debt, China is systematically getting wealthier and the United States is systematically getting poorer.
And now China is starting to use a lot of that wealth to aggressively expand their power and influence around the globe.
But isn’t it more than a bit far-fetched to suggest that China may be planning to establish Chinese cities and special economic zones in America?
Just look at what has already happened up in Canada. It is well-known that the Chinese population of Vancouver, Canada has absolutely exploded in recent years. In fact, the Vancouver suburb of Richmond is now approximately half Chinese. The following is an excerpt from a BBC article…
Richmond is North America’s most Asian city – 50% of residents here identify themselves as Chinese. But it’s not just here that the Chinese community in British Columbia (BC) – some 407,000 strong – has left its mark. All across Vancouver, Chinese-Canadians have helped shape the local landscape.
A similar thing is happening in many communities along the west coast of the United States. In fact, Chinese citizens purchased one out of every ten homes that were sold in the state of California in 2011.
But in other areas of the United States, the Chinese are approaching things much more systematically.
For example, as I have written about previously, a Chinese group identified as “Sino-Michigan Properties LLC” has purchased 200 acres of land near the town of Milan, Michigan. Their stated goal is to build a “China City” that has artificial lakes, a Chinese cultural center and hundreds of housing units for Chinese citizens.
In other instances, large chunks of real estate in major U.S. cities that are down on their luck are being snapped up by Chinese investors. Just check out what a Fortune article from a while back says has been happening over in Toledo, Ohio…
In March 2011, Chinese investors paid $2.15 million cash for a restaurant complex on the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio. Soon they put down another $3.8 million on 69 acres of newly decontaminated land in the city’s Marina District, promising to invest $200 million in a new residential-commercial development. That September, another Chinese firm spent $3 million for an aging hotel across a nearby bridge with a view of the minor league ballpark.
Toledo is being promoted to Chinese investors as a “5-star logistics region“. From Toledo it is very easy to get to Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Indianapolis…
With a population of 287,000, Toledo is only the fourth largest city in Ohio, but it lies at the junction of two important highways — I-75 and I-80/90. “My vision is to make Toledo a true international city,” Toledo’s Mayor Mike Bell told the Toledo Blade.
But some of these deals appear to be about far more than just making “investments”. According to the Idaho Statesman, a Chinese company known as Sinomach (which is actually controlled by the Chinese government) was actually interested in developing a 50 square mile self-sustaining “technology zone” south of the Boise airport…
A Chinese national company is interested in developing a 10,000- to 30,000-acre technology zone for industry, retail centers and homes south of the Boise Airport.
Officials of the China National Machinery Industry Corp. have broached the idea — based on a concept popular in China today — to city and state leaders.
The article suggested that this “technology zone” would be modeled after similar projects that already exist in China, and that Chinese officials were conducting similar negotiations with other U.S. states as well…
Sinomach is not looking only at Idaho.
The company sent delegations to Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania this year to talk about setting up research and development bases and industrial parks. It has an interest in electric transmission projects and alternative energy as well.
The technology zone proposal follows a model of science, technology and industrial parks in China — often fully contained cities with all services included.
Thankfully the deal in Idaho appears to be stalled for now, but could we soon see China establish special economic zones in other communities all around America?
The Chinese certainly do seem to be laying the groundwork for something. They have been voraciously gobbling up important infrastructure all over the country. The following comes from a recent American Free Press article…
In addition to already owning vital ports in Long Beach, Calif. and Boston, Mass., the China Ocean Shipping Company is eyeing major ports on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. China also owns access to ports at the entry and exit points of the Panama Canal.
And due to fiscal woes plaguing many American cities and states, U.S. legislators have been actively seeking out Chinese investors. In one of the worst cases, Baton Rouge, La., Mayor Kip Holden offered the Chinese government ownership and operating rights to a new toll way system if the Chinese would provide the funding to build it.
Does it make sense for the Chinese to own some of our most important ports?
Isn’t there a national security risk?
Sadly, there isn’t much of anything that our politicians won’t sell these days as long as someone is willing to flash a lot of cash.
The Chinese have also been busy buying up important real estate on the east coast as a recent Forbes article explained….
According to a recent report in the New York Times, investors from China are “snapping up luxury apartments” and are planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on commercial and residential projects like Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Chinese companies also have signed major leases at the Empire State Building and at 1 World Trade Center, the report said.
But it is not only just land and infrastructure that the Chinese have been buying up.
They have also been purchasing rights to vital oil and natural gas deposits all over the United States.
There have been two Chinese companies that have been primarily involved in this effort.
The first is the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). According to Wikipedia, CNOOC is 100 percent owned by the Chinese government…
CNOOC Group is a state-owned oil company, fully owned by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, and the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) performs the rights and obligations of shareholder on behalf of the government.
The second is Sinopec Corporation. Sinopec Group is the largest shareholder (approx. 75% ownership) in Sinopec Corporation. And as the Sinopec website tells us, Sinopec Group is fully owned by the Chinese government…
Sinopec Group, the largest shareholder of Sinopec Corp., is a super-large petroleum and petrochemical group incorporated by the State in 1998 based on the former China Petrochemical Corporation. Funded by the State, it is a State authorized investment arm and State-owned controlling company.
So whenever you see CNOOC or Sinopec, you can replace those names with the Chinese government. The Chinese government essentially runs both of those companies.
And as you can see from the following list compiled by the Wall Street Journal, those two companies have been extremely aggressive in buying up rights to oil and natural gas all over the nation…
Colorado: Cnooc gained a one-third stake in 800,000 acres in northeast Colorado and southeast Wyoming in a $1.27 billion pact with Chesapeake Energy Corp.
Louisiana: Sinopec has a one-third interest in 265,000 acres in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale after a broader $2.5-billion deal with Devon Energy.
Michigan: Sinopec gained a one-third interest in 350,000 acres in a larger $2.5 billion deal with Devon Energy.
Ohio: Sinopec acquired a one-third stake in Devon Energy’s 235,000 Utica Shale acres in a larger $2.5 billion deal.
Oklahoma: Sinopec has a one-third interest in 215,000 acres in a broader $2.5 billion deal with Devon Energy.
Texas: Cnooc acquired a one-third interest in Chesapeake Energy’s 600,000 acres in the Eagle Ford Shale in a $2.16-billion deal.
Wyoming: Cnooc has a one-third stake in 800,000 acres in northeast Colorado and southeast Wyoming after a $1.27 billion pact with Chesapeake Energy. Sinopec gained a one-third interest in Devon Energy’s 320,000 acres as part of a larger $2.5 billion deal.
Gulf of Mexico: Cnooc Ltd. separately acquired minority stakes in some of Statoil ASA’s leases as well as six of Nexen Inc.’s deep-water wells.
So why is the U.S. government allowing this?
That is a very good question.
For a nation that purports to be pursuing “energy independence”, we sure do have a funny way of going about things.
Unfortunately, the sad truth is that China is absolutely mopping the floor with the United States on the global economic stage. China is rising and America is in an advanced state of decline. Global economic power has shifted dramatically and most Americans still don’t understand what has happened.
The following are 44 more signs of how dominant the economy of China has become…
1. A Chinese firm recently made a $2.6 billion offer to buy movie theater chain AMC.
2. A different Chinese firm made a $1.8 billion offer to buy aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft.
3. In December it was announced that a Chinese group would be purchasing AIG’s plane leasing unit for $4.23 billion.
4. It was recently announced that the Federal Reserve will now allow Chinese banks to buy up American banks.
5. A $190 million bridge project up in Alaska was awarded to a Chinese firm.
6. A $400 million contract to renovate the Alexander Hamilton bridge in New York was awarded to a Chinese firm.
7. A $7.2 billion contract to construct a new bridge between San Francisco and Oakland was awarded to a Chinese firm.
8. The uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team were made in China.
9. 85 percent of all artificial Christmas trees are made in China.
10. The new World Trade Center tower is going to include glass that has been imported from China.
11. The new Martin Luther King memorial on the National Mall was made in China.
12. In 2001, American consumers spent 102 billion dollars on products made in China. In 2011, American consumers spent 399 billion dollars on products made in China.
13. The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.
14. According to the New York Times, a Jeep Grand Cherokee that costs $27,490 in the United States costs about $85,000 in China thanks to all the tariffs.
15. The Chinese economy has grown 7 times faster than the U.S. economy has over the past decade.
16. The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.
17. The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
18. Overall, the United States has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
19. According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.
20. Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.
21. In 2010, China produced more than twice as many automobiles as the United States did.
22. Since the auto industry bailout, approximately 70 percent of all GM vehicles have been built outside the United States.
23. After being bailed out by U.S. taxpayers, General Motors is currently involved in 11 joint ventures with companies owned by the Chinese government. The price for entering into many of these “joint ventures” was a transfer of “state of the art technology” from General Motors to the communist Chinese.
24. Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.
25. The United States has lost more than a quarter of all of its high-tech manufacturing jobs over the past ten years.
26. China’s number one export to the U.S. is computer equipment.
27. The number one U.S. export to China is “scrap and trash”.
28. The U.S. trade deficit with China is now more than 28 times larger than it was back in 1990.
29. Back in 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was just 6 million dollars for the entire year. For the month of November 2012 alone, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 28.9 billion dollars.
30. China now consumes more energy than the United States does.
31. China is now the leading manufacturer of goods in the entire world.
32. China uses more cement than the rest of the world combined.
33. China is now the number one producer of wind and solar power on the entire globe.
34. Today, China produces nearly twice as much beer as the United States does.
35. Right now, China is producing more than three times as much coal as the United States does.
36. China now produces 11 times as much steel as the United States does.
37. China produces more than 90 percent of the global supply of rare earth elements.
38. China is now the number one supplier of components that are critical to the operation of U.S. defense systems.
39. A recent investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services found more than one million counterfeit Chinese parts in the Department of Defense supply chain.
40. 15 years ago, China was 14th in the world in published scientific research articles. But now, China is expected to pass the United States and become number one very shortly.
41. China now awards more doctoral degrees in engineering each year than the United States does.
42. According to one study, the Chinese economy already has roughly the same amount of purchasing power as the U.S. economy does.
43. According to the IMF, China will pass the United States and will become the largest economy in the world in 2016.
44. Nobel economist Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040 if current trends continue.
Without the “globalization” of the world economy, none of this would have ever happened. But instead of admitting our mistakes and fixing them, our politicians continue to press for even more “free trade” and even more integration with communist nations such as China.
In fact, according to Dr. Jerome Corsi, the U.S. government has already set up 257 “foreign trade zones” all over America. These “foreign trade zones” are apparently given “special U.S. customs treatment” and are used to promote “free trade”…
Corsi noted that the U.S. government has created 257 foreign trade zones, or FTZs, throughout the United States, designed to extend special U.S. customs treatment to U.S. plants engaged in international-trade-related activities.
The FTZs tend to be located near airports, with easy access into the continental NAFTA and WTO multi-modal transportation systems being created to move free-trade goods cheaply, quickly and efficiently throughout the continent of North America.
“There is nothing in the U.S. government’s description of FTZs that would prevent a foreign government, like China, from operating a shell U.S. company that is in reality owned and financed by the Chinese government and operated through a Chinese government-owned corporation,” Corsi wrote.
Sadly, we are probably going to see a whole lot more of this in the years ahead.
According to Corsi, a professor of economics at Tsighua University in Beijing named Yu Qiao has suggested the following plan as a way to transform the debt that the United States owes China into something more “tangible”…
- China would negotiate with the U.S. government to create a “crisis relief facility,” or CRF. The CRF “would be used alongside U.S. federal efforts to stabilize the banking system and to invest in capital-intensive infrastructure projects such as high-speed railroad from Boston to Washington, D.C.
- China would pool a portion of its holdings of Treasury bonds under the CFR umbrella to convert sovereign debt into equity. Any CFR funds that were designated for investment in U.S. corporations would still be owned and managed by U.S. equity holders, with the Asians holding minority equity shares “that would, like preferred stock, be convertible.”
- The U.S. government would act as a guarantor, “providing a sovereign guarantee scheme to assure the investment principal of the CRF against possible default of targeted companies or projects”.
- The Federal Reserve would set up a special account to supply the liquidity the CRF would require to swap sovereign debt into industrial investment in the United States.
In the years ahead, perhaps many of you will end up working in a “special economic zone” for a Chinese company on a project that is being financially guaranteed by the U.S. government.
If that sounds like a form of slavery to you, the truth is that you are probably not too far off the mark.
The borrower is the servant of the lender, and we should have never allowed ourselves to get into so much debt.
Now we will pay the price.
To get an idea of how much the world has changed in recent years, just check out this incredible photo which contrasts the decline of Detroit over the years with the amazing rise of Shanghai, China.
Things did not have to turn out this way. Unfortunately, we made decades of incredibly foolish decisions and we wrecked the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen.
Now the future for America looks really bleak.
Or could it be that I am being too pessimistic? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…