Soon after President Donald Trump’s remarks to the joint members of Congress on Feb. 28, critics and mainstream media tore into his comments on fair trade. But most failed to mention significant reasons Trump is persistent about the issue.
“I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be fair trade,” Trump stated. “It’s been a long time since we had fair trade. The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, warned that the ‘abandonment of the protective policy by the American government… will produce want and ruin among our people.’ Lincoln was right — and it’s time we heeded his advice and his words.”
With much applause, even a few from the Democratic side, the president continued, “I am not going to let America and its great companies and workers be taken advantage of us any longer. They have taken advantage of our country. No longer.”
What many Americans didn’t hear from the media shortly after his 2012 re-election was about the results Barack Obama’s quick flight to China. Silence from most news channels prevented another White House scandal concerning harmful food exposures and safety risks for Americans.
Obama’s USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) quickly made a deal with the People’s Republic of China to certify four of its poultry processing plants so they could processed poultry products to the U.S.
“China’s food safety system is a wreck,” revealed Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of the Food & Water Watch group, whose organization, along with others “has been fighting FSIS on this issue since it first proposed granting China equivalency status in November 2005. There have been scores of food safety scandals in China, and the most recent ones have involved expired poultry products sold to U.S. fast food restaurants based in China.”
The Obama Administration, was “moving forward to implement this ill-conceived decision, and it has not even audited the Chinese food safety system in over 20 months, in direct contradiction to what it promised it would do to protect U.S. consumers,” Hauter said. “The election was not even a day old before it became apparent to us that the Obama administration is charging ahead with its flawed trade agenda.”
The result since 2012 is that America’s food safety inspectors have become more overwhelmed by surging food imports from China. Evidence of the lack of inspections showed the growing numbers of safety issues being sneaked through the cracks. The safety net to combat China’s weak inspections systems and unsafe poultry processing practices had been the U.S. Congress. But it eroded considerably by a Democratic controlled and Obama-sided Senate.
In 2005, major U.S. poultry companies lobbied Congress so heavily that focus they allowed international trade to undermine food safety. Millions of dollars were invested into Chinese chick operations by supper lobbyer Tyson Foods. Tyson had 60 percent ownership in one of the Chinese operations that pushed out over 3 million chickens a week.
Despite the fact that over 40 percent of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recalls come from over 1,500 Chinese products, some which has called death and injuries to Americans, the Obama White House moved forward with this political agenda.
Trump hasn’t been silent about the unfair Chinese economic policies and has called out Obama and George W. Bush on their weak responses to those policies. During the past 10 years, Trump watched from the sidelines as China gamed the system at America’s expense. Like immigration, Trump introduced the urgency of the Chinese trade agreements during his campaign.
In February a task force of experts, including former US officials and academics on Chinese policy, countered Trump’s critics who repeated “trade war” in their narratives. The fact is China has forced the US into a corner. The US has no other options but to be tough.
The President seems to be losing his patience with political arguments. The FDA and Safety Commission have found an enormous amount of poisons and dangerous compounds in Chinese products being stocked on American store shelves. Toothpaste, dog food, seafood and even toys have been discovered.
Over 45-million lead-tainted toys, including 9 million for Mattel, were recalled in 2007. The Chinese solution was to switch to hazardous cadmium-based paints which prompted even more recalls because of the danger.
When thousands of pets died from dog food tainted with the chemical melamine, inspectors began finding it in human food products, some from renowned brands like Mars, Heinz and Cadbury. In March 2014, the FDA admitted the number of pet illnesses attributed to imported treats from China was approaching 5,000 cases. Over 1,000 dogs died and at least three humans were treated for illness at that time. Health and Agricultural Departments throughout the nation have confirmed that many times foods from China contain antibiotics that are not approved in the U.S.
“It has been nearly a decade since China made its initial request to send its poultry products to the U.S. and it still cannot get its act together,” warned Hauter in July, 2014. “Now, we have this scandal involving a subsidiary of a U.S. poultry processor that sold rotten poultry meat to fast food restaurants in China. Unless the USDA reverses course, food from this processor could land on our plates in the not too distant future.”
“The food inspection program is so weak that China’s own food safety officials concede that the system does not work,” Hauter revealed. “The USDA is unnecessarily putting U.S. consumers at risk by continuing to entertain China’s request to export its unsafe poultry to the U.S.”
Since America has been receiving seafood product from China the past decade, much has been learned about the hazards of their fish. Almost 80 percent of tilapia eaten by America comes from China, while over half of cod fish consumed in the U.S. is from there.
China is notorious being the biggest environment polluter and food process violator of the world. Over 40,000 fingers are broken or cut off in the food production industry each year. Chemical discharges into China’s waters continues growing at an alarming rate is now estimated to be up to 35 million tons a year.
Dangerous and high levels of pesticides, agrochemicals, veterinary medicines and fungicides are used in fish farming, plant farming and throughout the Chinese food manufacturing processes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspects less than 2% of imported seafood. This is particularly alarming because much of the farmed fish on the in China and on Mekong River in Vietnam is the source of much of the products being sold in North America, Europe and Japan. These rivers are among the most overcrowded and polluted waterways on Earth. Animal and human waste, cement plants, salt factories and housing release industrial pollutants, sewage and waste water into the river, and farming fish ponds.