According to the China Business Weekly, 70% of the textile merchandise inside Wal-Mart is from China. Wal-Mart’s addiction to Chinese take out is so pervasive, that Sprawl-Busters has suggested the Arkansas company change its corporate name to “China-Mart.” The China Business Weekly reports that Wal-Mart’s inventory of stock from China will rise to $18 billion this year — a 20% growth rate over the previous year. “We expect our procurement stock from China to continue to grow at a similar rate in line with Wal-Mart’s growth worldwide, if not faster,” the Weekly quoted Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott as predicting. The journal reported that Lee Scott secretly scouted out a warehouse location in Shanghai of 340,000 s.f. Wal-Mart’s export office since the beginning of 2002 has been based in Shenzhen, a city of South China’s Guangdong Province. The Weekly reports that if Wal-Mart were an individual economy, it would rank as China’s eighth-biggest trading partner, ahead of Russia, Australia and Canada. More than 5,000 Chinese enterprises have established supply contracts with Wal-Mart. “Wal-Mart’s imports from China have largely influenced the US trade deficit in China, which is expected to reach US $150 billion this year,” the business journal said. According to the paper, “more than 70 per cent of the commodities sold in Wal-Mart are made in China.” This appears to refer to textile commodities. “Buying more products in China means more job opportunities, which helps the firm win not only the government’s hearts, but also the
customers’ appreciations,” said a spokesman for the China General Chamber of Commerce. “In the United States, poor people find it possible to afford cheap “Made In China” products for their daily necessities,” the Chamber official was quoted as saying. Wal-Mart now has 39 stores in China, and has been open for business there for eight years.
Wal-Mart has been good for China, but what’s good for China has been bad for America. The importation of cheap Chinese goods has led to the loss of millions of American jobs in manufacturing. Wal-Mart’s reliance on Chinese imports gives new meaning to the company’s former slogan in the early 1990s: “Bringing It Home to the U.S.A.” All that Wal-Mart is bringing home is a tidal wave of Chinese products that once were made in America. For earlier stories on this subject, search Newsflash by “China.”