Posted: December 17, 2007 3:22 PM
Hunter: Boycott Chinese Goods During Holiday Season
Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., has called on Americans to boycott Chinese goods during the holidays.
“What we all ought to do this Christmas season, with about a month to go before Christmas, is buy American,” Hunter said last month at the CNN/YouTube debate.
Sydney Hay, a senior political adviser for Hunter who is herself a candidate for Congress, is leading a “grassroots movement urging Americans to be ‘China-free for Christmas,’” according to a campaign news release. The “nationwide effort” is “challenging all the presidential candidates to sign a pledge to be China-free in their personal holiday shopping,” according to the release.
At the Nov. 28 Republican debate held in St. Petersburg, Fla., Hunter said “China is cheating on trade, and they’re using that $200 billion trade deficit over the United States to buy ships, planes and missiles.”
If American parents follow Hunter’s advice on avoiding the made-in-China label, it could have a significant impact on the gifts children find under the Christmas tree. About 80 percent of the roughly $22.5 billion in annual U.S. toy sales are products imported from China, according to the Toy Industry Association. About 3 billion toys are sold each year in the United States, according to Julie Livingston, spokeswomen for the association.
“It would be very difficult” to avoid buying Chinese toys, she said in a Dec. 14 telephone interview. Even if consumers checked to see where an item was manufactured, a number of toys labeled “Made in America” have parts that are made in China. “Countries don’t make toys, it’s individual companies that do.”
A number of toys made in China have recently been pulled from store shelves because they contain lead or were found to be dangerous to children if swallowed.
Hunter reprised his anti-China rhetoric at the Iowa Republican Debate on Dec. 12, mentioning the country four times. He repeated his earlier concern that Beijing is cheating on trade. But this time, Hunter also raised the specter of China as a rising military threat.
China is becoming “the new superpower, stepping into the shoes of the Soviet Union,” Hunter said.