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Snap Poll

Plurality says China poses threat to U.S. businesses

Readers weigh in on how China has affected their firms

A plurality of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll-41 percent-thinks China’s economic emergence is a threat for businesses in the United States.
One-quarter of respondents see the nation’s emergence as more of an opportunity for U.S. firms.
President Barack Obama this week opened two days of high-level talks with China by saying “the relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st century.”
This poll’s results were nearly the same as when the same questions were posed to readers in February 2007. In that poll, slightly more respondents (43 percent) saw China as a threat to U.S. businesses. The same percentage of readers in both polls saw China’s economic emergence as an opportunity.
Roughly one-quarter of readers-26 percent-said China’s emergence has negatively affected their businesses. That’s slightly higher than the response in 2007, when 23 percent said their businesses were negatively impacted.
In both polls, 20 percent said their businesses had been both positively and negatively affected. Some 44 percent of readers said China had no impact on their business.
Roughly 445 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted July 27 and 28.

Do you think China’s economic emergence is more a threat or an opportunity for U.S. businesses?

More a threat 41%
More an opportunity 25%
Equally a threat and an opportunity 34%

How has China’s economic emergence affected your business?

Positively: 10%
Negatively: 26%
Both positively and negatively: 20%
No impact: 44%

COMMENTS:

In world affairs as in business, changes are ALWAYS opportunities for the alert and the nimble, and these same changes always threaten the ostriches among us. We must prepare engineers, technologists, teachers, diplomats, executives and other Americans with more emphasis on education in Chinese languages, Chinese history and culture, just as we must broaden the international perspective generally of our future population. … The Chinese have already seized the opportunity to learn much from us, and we from them. The opportunity is to continue down that path. The threat is not to continue to learn, and not to let our own guard down in case a less-enlightened regime creeps back into power in Beijing.
-David Lovenheim, managing director, Keystones Global LLC

China is and will continue to be a threat to U.S. manufacturing. It is a country of cheap labor and uncontrolled standards, as shown by the many recent disclosures of contaminated and poor-quality goods we have received from there. They do claim to abide by international standards but many of these are purchased through a corrupt system. Their business practices are unscrupulous, and they enjoy an unfair trade advantage over the U.S.
-Bob Stein

The Chinese are generally well-educated, disciplined, highly motivated and driven to succeed and excel. We could learn a lot from them.
-Tom Shea, Thomas P. Shea Agency Inc.

We must never forget that the basic economic philosophy of Communist China is in direct conflict with the free-market capitalistic philosophy that built our nation. While we may benefit in the short term from trade with China, in the long term, adherence to their counter-capitalistic philosophy will only serve to corrupt our nation economically and societally.
-Steven G. Poyzer

A large threat is that they are a huge creditor of the U.S. and own much of our country’s debt. If they call our loans in large amounts or sell them off, it will put our entire economy in a tailspin.
-Bill Cox, Marktec Products Inc., Batavia

China represents a threat insomuch as many of our regulatory, legislative and business leaders use it as an all-purpose tool rather than a truly strategic one. Certainly China has much to offer, including vast markets and resources, but it is also a complex and self-centered partner we have yet to really figure out. We should be very cautious and guarded in our dealings with China.
-Steve Beyer, Pittsford

Regardless of whether you consider China a threat or opportunity, they are a force that cannot be ignored.
-Matthew McDermott, SPHR employee benefits consultant, The Landmark Group

Changes in the business competitive landscape are always an opportunity to those who are able to adapt and take advantage of the changes, and they are equally a threat to those who don’t adapt or take advantage of the new opportunities. So the answer to the question is really up to every business person. Of course it is easier to stay with the status quo, but Americans have always been good at change.
-Sergio Ruffolo, COO, JR Language Translation Services Inc.

07/31/09 (C) Rochester Business Journal

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