[Marxism] Chinese beneficence?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Dec 30 10:50:02 MST 2006

In Latin America, China similarly bestowed on Brazil favourite nation 
status. However, Brazilian soon discovered in spite of this their 
products faced huge tariff barriers in China. Furthermore, China 
promised to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects in 
Brazil. Predictably this was very slow to materialize. Another 
sticking point was that China insisted on bringing Chinese nationals 
as work crews, instead of transferring local skills. This is already 
a sore point across Africa.

Many African businesses complain Chinese companies dump cheap end of 
line stocks, often bypassing customs and import duties. Not only does 
this drive locals out of business, the cheap items are often of poor 
quality. The influx of cheap Chinese goods to Africa decimates the 
struggling local manufacturing industry. In South Africa, official 
figures shows that cheap Chinese textiles have led to the lost of at 
least 67 000 jobs the past 4 years. South African unions have lobbied 
the government who is busy negotiating a free trade deal with China 
to include clauses committing China to respect minimum labour, human 
rights and environmental standards. Most African countries, just like 
South Africa export the capital-intensive commodities or raw 
materials that China hungers for, and import labour-intensive 
manufactured goods from China. So, the rise in exports to China 
typically generates few jobs, while imports from China take away 
jobs. If this continues, argues South African President Thabo Mbeki 
the African continent could be "condemned to underdevelopment", and 
"recolonisation". Africans should heed the warning.


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