Alibaba is taking the fight to sellers of counterfeit goods

 

Alibaba sues sellers of counterfeit goods after it was blacklisted by the US
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) is taking the fight to sellers of counterfeit goods and, for the first time, suing two merchants on one of its e-commerce platforms – just days after it was blacklisted by the U.S. government for hosting fake items.

The Chinese firm filed a lawsuit against two sellers of fake Swarovski watches on its eBay-like Taobao platform with the Shenzhen Longgang District People’s Court, claiming 1.4 million yuan ($201,482) in damages.

While it may not seem like a large amount for a company like Alibaba but the company is hoping to stop others from hosting dodgy items.

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Death By China

 

Best-selling author and filmmaker Peter Navarro brings us DEATH BY CHINA, a documentary feature confronting America’s most urgent problem — its increasingly destructive trade relationship with China. 

Since the communist nation began flooding U.S. markets with illegally subsidized products in 2001, over 50,000 American factories have disappeared, putting than 25 million Americans out of work. The United States, as a result, now owes more than 3 trillion dollars to the world’s largest totalitarian nation.

Through compelling interviews with voices across the political spectrum, DEATH BY CHINA exposes our nation’s broken relationship with China and why it must be fixed for the world to be a place of peace and prosperity.

More Trade Actions – Wind Turbine Towers, Washing Machines

More Trade Actions – Wind Turbine Towers, Washing Machines

Dave Johnson  |  July 31, 2012  |  Campaign for America’s Future

The game is to underprice your product until your competitors go out of business (like Solyndra & other solar companies). Then you own the market. This is about a lot more than just jobs. Our government is finally doing something about leveling the playing field!

This week, in separate actions, our Commerce Department imposed “anti-dumping” tariffs on wind turbine towers and washing machines. The wind turbine towers were coming in from China and Vietnam, the washing machines from Mexico and South Korea.

Why Sell Under Cost?

Dumping is when a product is sold for less than it costs to evenmake the product. The idea is that your competitors will go out of business and the manufacturing ecosystem of suppliers, knowledge and infrastructure moves to you, so you’ll come out ahead in the long run.

It takes enormous investment to open up a manufacturing operation because you need the proper facilities, the right local utilities, the tools and machines, the skilled workforce, the suppliers, the local infrastructure, the channels to markets, and all the rest of the ecosystem that supports manufacturing. When that is lost to another country it is very, very difficult to get it back. Especially in a country with a Congress that refuses to understand the need for a national industrial policy.

This is the game that countries like China have been playing with their national industrial policies designed to capture strategic industries like solar and wind energy. By selling lower than cost for several years you gain market share and shed competitors. The suppliers, knowledge base, and jobs move their way. Eventually they build or strengthen an entire ecosystem and it is just too costly for others to try to compete.

At first it is attractive to take advantage of the lower prices, later the jobs, factories, companies and entire industries are gone along with the jobs and economic power they bring. Or, in other words, look around at what has happened to us.

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U.S. Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties On Chinese Solar Imports

Employees assemble photovoltaic panels at Suntech Power Holdings Co.’s factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China, in 2011.

The U.S. Commerce Department imposed tariffs of 31 percent to 250 percent on Chinese solar-product imports, siding with companies including SolarWorld AG (SWV) in the U.S. that said the items were sold below the cost of production.

The fees, announced today in an e-mailed statement, add to duties as high as 4.73 percent imposed earlier for getting unfair subsidies from China’s government. SolarWorld had asked for levies of more than 100 percent. Aaron Chew, a New York- based analyst at Maxim Group LLC, said before the decision that tariffs higher than 10 percent would be considered a victory for the U.S. companies.

“Commerce today put importers and purchasers on notice about the consequences of importing illegally subsidized and dumped products from China,” Gordon Brinser, the SolarWorld unit’s president, said in a statement.

The Commerce Department said a final determination on the tariffs would be made in early October. U.S. customs agents will collect a deposit or bond on solar cells made in China in the 90 days before today’s decision.

SolarWorld said its Hillsboro, Oregon-based U.S. unit can’t compete with Chinese exporters, including Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP), the world’s largest solar-panel maker, and Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) unless tariffs are imposed. Suntech was told to pay 31.22 percent, Trina’s levies were set at 31.14 percent and others were told to pay duties ranging from 31.18 percent to 249.96 percent.

Shares Rise

U.S.-based solar-product companies rose in New York trading after the announcement. First Solar Inc. (FSLR) climbed 94 cents, or 6.7 percent, to $14.92, and SunPower Corp. (SPWR)added 51 cents, or 10 percent, to $5.59.

Opponents of the punitive tariffs, such as the Washington- based Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, which includes Westinghouse Solar Inc. (WEST) and more than 100 other companies, claim the levies would cost U.S. jobs.

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U.S. to appeal WTO ruling against meat labels

Reuters
By Doug Palmer and Rod Nickel | Reuters

WASHINGTON/WINNIPEG (Reuters) – The United States said on Friday it would appeal a World Trade Organization ruling against a law requiring country-of-origin labels on all meat sold in grocery stores, a move that disappointed Canada and Mexico, both of which want the law changed.

The meat labels became mandatory in March 2009 after years of debate. U.S. consumer and mainline farm groups supported the requirement, saying consumers should have information to distinguish between U.S. and foreign products.

Big meat processors opposed the provision, which they said would unnecessarily boost costs and disrupt trade.

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What Does the Future Hold for American Manufacturing?

The state of US manufacturing is likely to become a major campaign issue - Getty Images

The state of US manufacturing is likely to become a major campaign issue - Getty Images

Written by: BBC North America editor, Mark Mardell 

Drew Greenblatt is an enthusiast: proud of his company, Marlin Steel, and proud of the factory floor packed with state-of-the-art equipment.

I watch, fascinated, as a little white robot squeezes out a wire, putting kinks and bends in it as it emerges.

Then it hands it over to a slightly larger yellow robot, which holds it steady for a twist in the end before turning it over for another twist at the other end.

Oddly, I find this cutting-edge equipment rather cute and cartoonish.

The question is whether this endearing duo are merely the remnants of America’s industrial past or the sort of equipment that will make the USA world-beaters once again.

The factory floor space at Marlin Steel is being doubled and there is no doubt the company is doing well, prospering even, during the bad years. Read more of this post

FDA Says Brazil’s Orange Juice Is Safe, But Still Illegal

 

Antonio Scorza/AFP/Getty Images Oranges for sale at a market in Rio de Janeiro.

Antonio Scorza/AFP/Getty Images Oranges for sale at a market in Rio de Janeiro.

NPR      by DAN CHARLES  February 22, 2012

If you happen to notice sometime later this year that you’re suddenly paying a lot more for orange juice, you can blame America’s food safety authorities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after several weeks of deliberation, has blocked imports of frozen, concentrated orange juice from Brazil, probably for the next 18 months or so, even though the agency says the juice is perfectly safe.

The FDA’s explanation is that its hands are legally tied. Its tests show that practically all concentrated juice from Brazil currently contains traces of the fungicide carbendazim, first detected in December by Coca-Cola, maker of Minute Maid juices. The amounts are small — so small that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says no consumers should be concerned.

The problem is, carbendazim has not been used on oranges in the U.S. in recent years, and the legal permission to use it on that crop has lapsed. As a result, there’s not a legal “tolerance” for residues of this pesticide in orange products. Read more of this post

How to Save U.S. Manufacturing Jobs

By Howard Wial @CNNMoney February 23, 2012: 5:34 AM ET

Howard Wial is a fellow for the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.

At first glance, manufacturing jobs would appear to be a dying breed.

The United States lost 6 million manufacturing jobs between early 2001 and late 2009. And despite small gains during the last two years, the trend in manufacturing employment for the last 30 years has been downward.

That has led some to argue that long-term job loss in the industry is inevitable. But our research shows otherwise.

There are two common versions of the “inevitability” argument. One holds that U.S. manufacturing wages are too high to be internationally competitive. The other maintains that manufacturing job losses are the result of productivity growth. Both arguments are wrong. Read more of this post

How To Invest For Jobs Coming Back To U.S.

Brian Sozzi, Contributor   2/16/2012

The grand theme I want to put on the table is the concept of onshoring, sometimes called reshoring, which is the bringing back of U.S. jobs from overseas supply chains.

U.S. businesses have started to realize that while workers in far away lands garner miniscule wages compared to their U.S. counterparts, having operations outside of the country can be a strategic disadvantage.  The speed and structure in which information is consumed has caused U.S. consumers to demand top quality products and to want to buy them whenever they please.

Having a manufacturing plant domestically aids in the quicker movement of goods from design table to sales floor.  Furniture maker Ethan Allen is great example of a manufacturer producing most of its products in the U.S. and doing customization for clients, setting itself apart from price-point focused competitors.

Corporate managers are simply getting over their infatuation with cheap international labor and analyzing the total costs of doing business in the U.S. compared to say, China or India.

There is a dollop of icing on the cake here as well.  The topic of focusing on onshoring to boost employment levels seems to be an area of agreement between bickering Republicans and Democrats.  Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, for example, wants to zero out the U.S. corporate tax for manufacturers.

Anytime the major political parties agree on anything, even the slight thing, it’s cause to sit up and take notice from an investment standpoint.  The Donkeys and Elephants may be a little apart on how to precisely shepherd along the corporate onshoring interest, but at least they are talking the same language.  It’s high time they do find common ground if the following is to be reversed:

  • Manufacturing employment has fallen by approximately 37% since 1980.
  • According to a survey done by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, some 600,000 manufacturing jobs are currently unfilled due to a mismatch between job requirements and experience.

I have read a fair number of columns bantering about onshoring.  Is it overhyped?  Do we really need more jobs in the service sector U.S. economy?  The debates are almost endless.  Unfortunately, though, I have failed to stumble upon investment strategies to profit from onshoring, which has already begun to a certain extent, and could likely gain steam in the years ahead.

Buy-and-hold investors, this should be right in your wheelhouse: a highly probable future event to build positions around in companies with durable competitive advantages.

A few names that come to mind:

  • Waste Management: Owns 260 plus landfills and is the largest waste management business in the U.S.  More manufacturing production means more waste to be piled into the company’s green bins.
  • ADP: Benefits in two manners.  First, workers are hired to run new domestic manufacturing plants (hopefully by people that used the downturn to attain new technological skills).  Second, there should be a trickle down effect in the overall employment sector via a ramp in higher paying manufacturing jobs.
  • Dunkin Brands: “America Runs on Dunkin” as the brand’s slogan goes.  The company’s moat is not as wide as an ADP or Waste Management, but more U.S. manufacturers should mean more egg sandwiches (which Starbucks does not do superbly) and coffee.  Store penetration is increasing in areas of the country that are manufacturing oriented.

This Column Was 100% Made in America

A Hyundai ad that ran during Super Bowl coverage showed workers from the company's plant in Montgomery, Ala.

A Hyundai ad that ran during Super Bowl coverage showed workers from the company's plant in Montgomery, Ala.

By   Published: February 15, 2012

BLUE-COLLAR workers in fields like manufacturing — particularly when they make products on American soil — are again becoming a favorite subject for white-collar workers on Madison Avenue.

The trend was born of the economic worries that followed the financial crisis in 2008. Recently, it is gaining steam — appropriate, since the ads often use blasts of steam to signal something is being built — with proposals in Washington to offer incentives to encourage the location or relocation of factories in the United States.

“We continue to see very heavy emotional response to anything that would leverage against the bad economy,” said Robert Passikoff, president at Brand Keys, a brand and customer-loyalty consulting company in New York. Read more of this post

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