Back in the day, there was a push by United States manufacturers to put “Made in America” labels on any number of products. It was part of an effort to stimulate Americans’ patriotic impulses and boost the country’s economy by choosing to buy products manufactured here at home. That entire concept seemed to fade from popularity during the 90s as we engaged in an insane shift toward globalization and job outsourcing, but I suppose that ship sailed too long ago to waste time with it today.
But now there’s a new label that may be showing up in the clothing and other products you purchase. At the direction of the White House, any products coming from Hong Kong to our shores may be required to have a “Made in China” label on them. And despite the fact that it doesn’t seem very patriotic on their part, the Chinese aren’t happy about it. (The Hill)
Exports to the U.S. from Hong Kong may soon have to be specially marked to indicate their Chinese origin as the U.S.’s special relationship with the former British colony comes to an end.
Reuters reported Tuesday that the Trump administration posted a “made in China” marking requirement for all exports from Hong Kong, the latest move aimed at the region by U.S. regulators following the passage of a new national security law that experts say reduces Hong Kong’s sovereignty and brings it closer to mainland China.
The notice was posted Tuesday and reportedly goes into effect in 45 days.
As I alluded to above, perhaps one of the most curious things about China’s reaction to this order is how they apparently see it as an insult. If you’re the CCP and you’ve essentially locked down control of Hong Kong in a new One Country, One System paradigm, wouldn’t you be proud to see all sorts of products flooding American markets with a “Made in China” label on them? And yet they seem to view this as some sort of slight as if people might be ashamed to be wearing shirts with that sort of label sewn into them.
Of course, that’s the intent of Trump’s order in the first place. After letting everyone know how the CCP has been infiltrating every aspect of our lives and stealing all of our data through embedded technology and applications such as Tiktok and WeChat, the hope is that rank and file Americans would revolt against purchasing and using such products. Of course, given the way Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have reacted to suggestions that the Chinese might be up to nefarious plots, this might backfire and make these products even bigger sellers on the left.
But more than any domestic spats over foreign policy, this order may simply be a very visible signal of how the world has rapidly changed in just the past year. Hong Kong was traditionally a good friend to the United States and enjoyed a very favorable trade agreement situation with us. It was a promising center of capitalism and at least something close to democracy in an otherwise authoritarian part of the world. But that’s no longer the case. If the CCP wants to treat Hong Kong as just another province under the control of mainland China, then that’s how the rest of the world will need to treat them as well. And Donald Trump’s “Made in China” tags would be a constant reminder of that new, unfortunate reality.