A good illustration of just how many products from China are sold in the US is the 2007 book, A Year Without Made in China: One Family’s True Adventure in the Global Economy. Written by Sara Bongiorni, this book describes how a family’s decision to not purchase items made in China for one year made their lives extremely difficult, and how sometimes it was simply impossible to buy the item that they needed because it was exclusively imported from China. Indeed, China imported products include things as small as batteries or as large as jet skis, including items used in all areas of life.
However, Chinese imports are not without controversy. Well-known controversies that have created huge media storms center around Chinese made and imported toys for children. In 2007, there were massive recalls of Chinese-made toys because of the discovery of lead paint poisoning and dangerously loose magnets. This is an example of the concern that Chinese-made products are substandard and are saturating the market, thereby pushing out higher-quality goods made domestically in the US or other more developed countries. Human rights advocates worry that lower labor standards, including child labor or so-called “sweat shops,” are what permit Chinese-made goods to be so cheap and thus so competitive in the US market. Other countries with higher, stricter labor regulations or higher product standards can not produce products as cheaply as China. Some economists protest the fact that China purposefully devalues the yen, making purchases of Chinese goods cheaper, hurting competition from other countries and strangling domestic production of goods. However, others argue that the provision of goods by China allows the US to develop other markets and specialties.
As Bongiorni’s book, A Year Without Made in China illustrates, despite these concerns Chinese goods are already integrated into the US economy, and importers of China products can make a lucrative profit especially through China wholesale imports.