Sunday, October 14, 2012
CHINA ON U.S. BUYING SPREE
• Chinese firms cashing in on America’s financial woes
• Buying up ports, toll ways, real estate, energy companies
By Victor Thorn
On September 28 Barack Obama, citing national security concerns, signed an executive order that blocked the Chinese company Sany Group from acquiring four “wind farms” near a United States Navy training facility in Oregon. To many, this recent controversy surrounding the attempted acquisition focused a spotlight on China’s push to purchase significant amounts of U.S. infrastructure, natural resources and commerce.
During a September 28 interview, AMERICAN FREE PRESS asked Frederick Els, editor of the web-based Mining magazine, about China’s buying spree in America.
“China consumes 60% of the world’s iron ore and 40% of the copper,” said Els. “They’re buying up the people who are supplying them.”
According to financial analyst David Sterman in an August 2 article, the Chinese invested a record $3.6B in U.S. properties and businesses over the first six months of 2012. Among their purchases were prime real estate in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Four of the most populous and productive states—California, Virginia, Texas and New York—have been their primary focus. Of these investments, Chinese companies did 73% while the remaining 27% was done directly by the government.
Particularly disturbing is the targeting of America’s infrastructure. 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. There are also multimillion-dollar highway and bridge projects in California, New York and Alaska being awarded to Chinese firms.
The breadth of Chinese acquisitions is astounding. In Milan, Mich., for example, a Chinese corporation purchased 200 acres to erect what is being called a “China City” for Chinese immigrants.
China Petrochemical Corp., known as Sinopec Group, recently closed a deal to buy a one-third stake in five exploratory oil projects in the U.S. from Oklahoma City’s Devon Energy Corp., a Fortune 500 company included in the S&P 500 Index. The Chinese have also bought up battery makers for electric cars, a movie theater chain, mineral resources, oil and gas deposits, banks, factories, luxury apartments, power plants and swanky restaurants.
But what is most concerning is the fact that the Chinese alter their acquisitions to match their culture. Woody Jenkins, a former Louisiana state representative who now owns several newspapers in his home state, describes the impact this has on American workers and how it sets back a century of advances in labor rights: “[The Chinese] convert the operation of their new facilities into the China labor model, which means low wages and inhumane working conditions.”
The impact of these inroads into America is obvious. Jenkins wrote on May 10: “The Chinese use the infrastructure they acquire as a base of intelligence operations and to secure deep roots in the countries where they operate.”
As Chinese lobbying firms increase their expertise in greasing the palms of U.S. lawmakers, Americans should remember the following crucial statistics from a May 23 article by Michael Snyder of “The Economic Collapse” news website.
“The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month, and more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities have been shut down since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001,” wrote Snyder.